The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for the introduction of a £3,000 apprenticeship incentive for under 25s in England.
The FSB stated that skills shortages are ‘holding back small firms’ growth’, and said that the government’s increased apprenticeship incentive during the COVID-19 pandemic helped to make a ‘significant impact’.
This increase, which saw the incentive rise to £3,000 for apprentices of all ages during the pandemic, led to a 21% rise in apprenticeship starts, the FSB said.
Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair at the FSB, said: ‘Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity to empower young people, but success is contingent on the right support.
‘The government’s increase of the apprenticeship incentive was a welcome effort in supporting young talent during the pandemic, but that funding was temporary, and it has been disheartening to see that commitment fall away.
‘As the Chancellor looks to use his March Budget to boost labour market participation and growth, he could start in no better place than by using National Apprenticeship Week to announce that he will introduce £3,000 for under 25s and SMEs, which could help unlock long-term economic benefits for generations to come.’