Aldous presses Business Secretary to ease rules on apprenticeships

Waveney MP Peter Aldous pressed Secretary of State of Business to ease the rules on companies taking on apprentices.

Aldous was speaking in Questions to the Secretary of State for Business in the House of Commons where he questioned the rule in the Government scheme which restricts prohibits companies receiving funding for apprenticeships if they have taken on an apprentice in the previous three years.

Mr Aldous has been campaigning to ensure that local people are able to take up apprenticeships, particularly in the energy sector, in order that they can take advantage of job creation in the sector.

Commenting Peter said:
“It is extremely important that we do all we can to ensure companies can take on as many apprentices as possible. I was questioning the Secretary of State after being informed of this specific problem.”

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What steps he is taking to enable small and medium-sized companies to offer high-quality apprenticeships to young adults. [100020]

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): We are making it easier and quicker for small and medium-sized companies to take on an apprentice by simplifying and speeding up the process for employers. Additionally, we are making available up to 40,000 incentive payments of £1,500 to help small employers recruit their first 16 to 24-year-old apprentice. A small and medium-sized enterprise review is under way to identify further ways of engaging SMEs in high-quality apprenticeships.

Peter Aldous: Although the apprenticeship grant for employers initiative is welcome in my constituency, where there are many SMEs, does the Secretary of State agree that the scheme would have even more impact if the rule prohibiting the participation of companies that have taken on apprentices in the past three years was relaxed?

Vince Cable: I understand the frustration of employers who have a good record on apprenticeships and feel that they are penalised in such a way. If we had unlimited money, we would meet the hon. Gentleman’s expectations, but the scheme that I have described is restricted to new companies that are taking on apprentices for the first time. It has to be that way for financial reasons, but I would have hoped that companies with a good record in apprenticeships will have seen the benefit of them and will offer them for good commercial reasons.

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