Small businesses hindered by skills shortage

By - Monday 25th January, 2016

More than a third of SMEs say a shortage of skills is hindering their growth. Adrian Bishop of quBlu Training is promoting the employment of apprentices as a solution, with apprenticeship participation now at a record high of 871,800.

Adrian Bishop. Photo by Adrian Bishop, used with permission.

Over 37% of SMEs say that a shortage of skills has hindered their business growth, with a third also stating a lack of time is the biggest barrier to their online growth.

With 5.2 million small businesses in the UK just over 16% still do not have a website and of those that do, only 34% accept online payments and a staggering 71% cannot serve online consumers.

Adrian Bishop, Managing Director of quBlu Training Limited and an ex-Apprentice has been delivering Apprenticeship programmes for over 20 years and says, “The problem with small business growth isn’t all down to a shortage of skills, it’s also how commonly shared barriers are restricting SMEs from accessing these skills in the first place”.

QuBlu Training deliver Apprenticeships in Digital Marketing and have set up a digital outsourcing service called ‘GetMyBusinessDigital’, giving small businesses the opportunity to share the cost of accessing the digital skills needed to help them grow.

“A small business looking to grow its online presence could consider employing an Apprentice, however, we find SMEs are more likely to be put off by the legal responsibility, or simply cannot sustain the upkeep of a trainee for a long-term period.”

This is supported by a poll conducted by YouGov in 2014, which highlighted that 30% of SMEs do not have the cash to invest in the long-term employment of an Apprentice, with a minimum period for a Level 2 being 12 months and 15 months for a Level 3.

In addition to this Apprentice employers are required to comply with H&S requirements – even if they have less than 5 staff – as well as pay National Minimum Wage, Tax/NIC and provide Apprentices with a contract of employment.

In the 2014/15 academic year there were nearly 500,000 Apprenticeship starts, an increase of 13.5% compared to the previous year and Apprenticeship participation is now at a record 871,800. Adrian concludes that, “Clearly the developing skills are available. The issue for SMEs is accessing these skills in a way that is cost effective, efficient, and manageable”.

Release ends.

Release sender: quBlu Training Limited.



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