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Midlands businesses struggle to hire apprentices – BDO finds

Midlands businesses struggle to hire apprentices – BDO finds

Mid-sized businesses in the Midlands would like to hire more apprentices but do not have sufficient resources or guidance to do so, according to new data from accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO.

BDO’s latest bi-monthly Economic Engine survey of 500 mid-sized businesses has revealed that more than a third (36%) of respondents want to see greater support from a future government to resolve staff or skills shortages, including reform to the Apprenticeship Levy. This ranks ahead of tax breaks and support to reduce borrowing costs, demonstrating its importance to those businesses that sit at the heart of the region’s economy.

Only one in five respondents (20%) claim to regularly hire apprentices through the Apprenticeship Levy, with high costs (30%) and a lack of guidance (28%) cited as the main barriers to doing so. Yet desire remains strong amongst businesses – more than a third of regional businesses (38%) said they would increase their hiring habits if they could work more closely with local schools and colleges to do so.  

The survey also showed that apprenticeship hiring levels vary significantly across certain industries. Almost two in five (38%) of mid-market real estate companies claim they would hire apprentices if they had more guidance on how to start a programme, with 43% of technology and media companies admitting the same – both high growth areas of the economy.

Kyla Bellingall, regional managing partner of BDO in the Midlands, commented:

“As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, the importance of apprentices to the economic growth of the region and UK as a whole is not lost on anyone, least of all the businesses at the heart of our economy.

“These businesses are responsible for more than 8 million jobs, the equivalent of one in four across the UK and, with the right level of targeted support, together we can help them kick start their hiring – boosting the number of high quality opportunities on offer to younger generations and providing the skills the Midlands so desperately needs.”

BDO is recruiting more than 130 apprentices across its UK offices in 2024, including 16 in the Midlands across the firm’s Birmingham and Nottingham offices.

Applications for the apprenticeship programme, designed for students who have completed their A-level studies (or equivalent), are now open until 24th March 2024. Successful candidates will start at BDO in September 2024.

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