Large businesses urged to extend a helping hand to SMEs to help young people

While the government continues to tackle the problem of unemployment in the UK, larger businesses are being asked to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) so they can help get young people into employment.

Findings from research by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has shown that young people are suffering from a lack of work experience despite being well prepared for the workplace and employers are being asked to come up with new ways to engage the younger generation before they enter the world of work.

Larger businesses generally have access to better materials to enable them to engage with young people, such as connecting with schools and colleges to do talks to students, carrying out mock interviews and running workshops to show young people more about how their business works. SMEs do not necessarily have the capacity or the resources to achieve this level of engagement.

Responsible for around 50 per cent of UK businesses annual turnover, SMEs make up approximately 60 per cent of private sector employment. Many are reliant on money from the government, including the Funding for Lending scheme, but the reduction of lending in recent times has meant that SMEs are being forced to look elsewhere for alternative financial help.

One alternative which is proving successful is the apprenticeship scheme. An estimated 96 per cent of employers who have taken on an apprentice report benefits to their business and 72 per cent report increased productivity.

This vocational route could solve the problem of the lack of experience that young people face when looking for a job and could help the reduction of unemployment and therefore the UK economy.

If you are considering employing a young person or would like advice on setting up an apprentice scheme for your business, Palmers can advise you on any aspect of employment law. Please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.