North East SMEs failing to address skills shortages

According to new research from Barclays, 63% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the North East aren’t able to offer an apprenticeship. This is despite 80% saying they would like to hire a young and work-ready candidate.One in ten of these SMEs blame red tape and costs involved with setting up an apprenticeship scheme.

Chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) James Ramsbotham says: “We have supported the Journal’s Proud to Back Apprenticeships campaign because this issue is something that we must address throughout the business community and while we have a plethora of large companies dedicated to apprenticeships and employee development, not enough is being done by SMEs in regional supply chains to address potential skills shortages.

“Red tape is a convenient excuse for a business not engaged in the apprenticeship agenda, but really there is little more red tape involved in taking on an apprentice than there is in any recruitment process. As the region’s largest independent training provider, NECC does all it can to take the red tape and stress out of recruiting an apprenticeship.

“I would urge all firms to consider apprenticeships. It is not only good for your business, it is also good for regional business.”