Last updated: 19.01.15

London SMEs should offer more apprenticeships

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and training providers in London need to work better together in order to help learners by creating more apprenticeships and work experience opportunities, according to a new report.Ofsted's 'Engaging small and medium enterprises in work experience and apprenticeships in London' report looked at 17 SMEs and 26 training providers in the capital to identify the pros and cons of working together to provide apprenticeships and work experience for learners.The report's general consensus was that training providers find it difficult to encourage SMEs to offer apprenticeship and work experience opportunities.In response, SMEs blamed timed constraints of employees and the availability of staff as the preventive factors to providing such opportunities to learners. Furthermore, concerns were expressed over the employability of learners themselves, with many London employers questioning their preparedness for the world of work.Despite acknowledging the fact that work experience is advantageous to learners, some SMEs claimed that it was not beneficial to their business and instead created additional work.It was also reported that businesses believe the work experience and apprenticeship recruiting process to be too "bureaucratic", while others find resources like the National Apprenticeship Service website too confusing to navigate round.On a brighter note, some SMEs did report that they had established strong relationships with training providers, which had helped in the creation of work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.Marina Gaze, deputy director for further education and skills at Ofsted, said: "It is imperative that all learners leave education and training with the skills and experience they need to enter the world of work."Ofsted found that many training providers use work experience as a way of introducing a potential apprentice to an employer. Making sure that there are sufficient work experience and apprenticeship placements must be a priority for the government, businesses and providers."Virtual College provide a range of online tools and resources to further education colleges and training providers to support apprenticeship delivery. To learn more, please visit: