News in brief: apprenticeships, entrepreneurs, banking

News in brief
News in brief

Young people lack entrepreneurial spirit

Only 22% of young people aged 15-18 are interested in starting their own business, as four-in-five (78%) young people say they would be likely to work for a well-established company, and half (53%) say they do not want to take any risks when it comes to making money.

This research, commissioned by Google, highlights the challenges the UK must overcome to safeguard the next generation of entrepreneurs, a key driver of creative, technological and economic growth.

Only 34% responded that entrepreneurship aims to make a social impact and only 32% believe they would benefit from starting their own business. 56% perceive it as risky, 21% as unstable and 11% as reckless.

Boys are more positive and confident than girls about entrepreneurship. They feel more likely to benefit from starting their own company (36% v. 28%), and are more confident they wouldn’t make mistakes (41% v. 31%), while girls seem to fear failure more (45% vs 39%). As a result, boys (14%) are more likely than girls (9%) to think they would start their own business right after finishing school.

To inspire young people, Google has launched Future Founders, a youth entrepreneurship programme based at its community hub for start-ups, Campus London. The programme aims at tackling myths and perceived barriers to entrepreneurship, encourage a mindset of experimentation and bold thinking, while also educating young people about the support and advice available to start-up founders.

Santander recognised at Business Moneyfacts Awards

Santander was named ‘Business Bank of the Year’ and ‘Best Business Current Account Provider’ at the annual Business Moneyfacts Awards

Business Moneyfacts, an independent business finance guide, also awarded Santander the titles of ‘Best International Solutions Provider’ and ‘Innovation in the SME Finance Sector.’

Santander UK head of business banking Sue Douthwaite said: “This is not the first time the industry recognises our commitment to helping businesses prosper. We achieve this by making it a priority to build lasting relationships and provide our customers with the right solutions to meet their banking needs. If that were not the case we would have not been awarded Business Bank of the Year for the second consecutive year -- it is a real testimony to the outstanding proposition.”

More than 30,000 new apprenticeships pledged

A further 30,084 new apprenticeships have been pledged by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2016 (14 to 18 March).

Traineeships, which give young people the work preparation training, English, maths and work experience needed to get an apprenticeship or other job, also got a boost during the week with employers large and small.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Apprenticeships offer working people the jobs and training they need to build a great career. An apprenticeship really can take you anywhere.

“Employers have pledged more than 30,000 new apprenticeships this week. That means more than 30,000 more life changing opportunities for working people.”

SME confidence levels for 2016 uncertain

SME confidence is at its lowest levels since 2013, with the fall most prevalent in London and the East of England. All regions of the UK have seen declines however, and confidence is at its lowest among small businesses in Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to the Latest Federation of Small Businesses’ (FBS) latest Small Business Index.

However, ReesRussell partner Jonathan Russell said that he had not noticed a drop in confidence, but an “increasing awareness by smaller businesses that there is no quick fix and any improvement in their own businesses will only be from their own hard work and efforts.”

He continued: “Many see their success in the future as a result of their work, rather than the result of government policy. Many small businesses are spending more time, energy and money on new regulations and costs brought in by the government, which have no benefit to businesses.

“These include the national living wage, auto-enrolment and more recently the digital tax accounts; all of which are an increasing administrative and fiscal burden.

“In addition, we have the uncertainty created by the government over the EU referendum. The government are not giving any indication of what they would do if there was a vote to leave and is therefore failing in a fundamental duty to remove uncertainty.”

SMEs uptake of apprentices is still slow

Nearly a third of SMEs face a skills shortage amongst their employees, yet only 5% are hoping to fill this gap with an apprentice.

This is according to the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a survey of 900 UK SMEs. Other findings include that the biggest barriers to hiring apprentices are cost (49%), red tape (19%) and time (14%).

Close Brothers Banking Division chief executive Stephen Hodges comments on National Apprenticeship Week: “Apprenticeships are a key way of helping to bridge the skills gap faced by many UK industries, yet we know many SMEs struggle to hire apprentices. Our research found cost (49%), red tape (19%) and time (14%) are the biggest barriers to them do this. Supporting SMEs with these issues is essential and that’s why the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme was launched: to help manufacturing SMEs overcome these issues and as a model for others to replicate across other industries.”