News: Employers are not taking on apprentices – despite knowing that it would help fill their digital skills gap.
The UK is facing a much reported shortage of digital skills, with this severe skills gap threatening the prosperity of the digital economy. Although apprenticeships have been much lauded as one of the best viable solutions to the digital skills gaps, a staggering half of UK employers do not yet run apprenticeship schemes.
This worrying figure comes despite 73% of employers knowing that apprenticeships would help fill their digital and tech skills gap. The figures, from a survey hosted by Tech Partnership, found that digital skills gaps (73%) and gaining access to talent (61%) were by far the biggest motivators for taking on an apprentice.
With 49% of employers yet to start an apprenticeship scheme, the survey highlighted the substantial barriers and challenges facing UK employers. The main difficulties were found to come from recruitment, with 56% of apprentice employers saying that they have encountered difficulty in getting the right people. Sourcing high quality training for apprenticeships was also viewed as a key concern for 56% of those that employed apprentices.
For those yet to taken on an apprentice, 39% responded that they ‘did not know where to start’; 39% responded that they felt current apprenticeships frameworks do not correspond with their business needs; almost a quarter (24%) felt there was a lack of high quality training available to support a successful apprenticeship.
The survey comes at a time of increased government support for apprenticeship schemes, with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy due to come in force from April 2017. According to the Tech Partnership survey, 62% of employers who are aware of the levy said that they were likely to take on more apprentices -either in the form of hiring young recruits or retraining existing staff as a result of the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
When asked how employers perceive the apprenticeship levy will impact their organisation, 37% of respondents said that they think that it will prompt them to take more apprentices, mainly young people, but also those already in the workforce.