Comparatively, 20 per cent of FM businesses surveyed stated that they had taken on apprentices in 2012.
The survey results for the FM sector match the national, cross sector average, which shows that 27% of businesses are planning to take on apprentices this year. The research additionally found a gulf between small and large businesses’ apprentice recruitment plans. Only 19% of small companies stated that they would be likely to take on an apprentice, this compares to an average of 41% amongst businesses of every other size.
These small businesses, it would appear, are missing out on the many benefits that an apprentice can bring to productivity and talent development. A recent CEBR report found that companies taking on an apprentice typically gain a £214 per week productivity boost.
Nicki Thomson, head of business services industry at Barclays, commented: “The FM sector plays a significant role in the UK economy and it’s extremely positive to see that over a quarter of firms recognise the importance of supporting the future generation of talent, however, I hope that more come to realise the benefits apprentices can bring.
“We have already seen positive steps being taken his year with smaller FM businesses being encouraged to take on apprentices through a government grant incentive. All initiatives such as this should be welcomed wholeheartedly by the sector, not least because research shows that employers who recruit apprentices see an upsurge in productivity and staff retention.”
Previous research from Barclays has revealed that more than half (52%) of the SMEs asked would not take on apprentices due to fears about the amount of time it takes to set up and the additional support they thought a young person would need. In particular 39% of micro companies (5-9 employees) cited red tape as the most significant barrier.
Encouragingly 76% of SMEs said they would want to be part of a scheme that helped set up apprenticeships for young people.
Supporting smaller businesses overcome the perceived barriers to taking on apprentices is the aim of Barclays Bridges into Work, a new programme designed to support 10,000 young people into work. The programme will help small businesses access grants, find applicants, and train young people ahead of the role.
Following five successful Bridges into Work launch events in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, and pilot events in Romford and Stoke, 200 businesses have already pledged to get involved.