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North-East Federation of Small Businesses backs move to hand companies new apprentice powers
INDUSTRY bosses have welcomed the Government's planned changes to apprenticeship schemes, but warned more work still needs to be done.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said companies will be given more power to design and develop apprenticeship standards and qualifications to address the skills shortage.
The move came after a review from entrepreneur Doug Richard, which said apprenticeships had to fit employers' requirements.
Ted Salmon, Federation of Small Businesses' North-East regional chairman, said: “An apprenticeship should not simply be in-work training, but a quality way to start a meaningful career and deliver clear business benefits.
“We urge the Government to take its time with these reforms to ensure a stable system is in place that lasts the long-term.”
The drive to recognise employers' needs also received support from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, said: “During the past two years, the number of small construction firms employing an apprentice has fallen and despite the fall in construction output since 2008, the sector still needs about 30,000 recruitments every year.”
“Employers must have confidence that apprenticeship qualifications are suited to the needs of their business before investing in a new recruit.
“But these potential changes must take into account the needs of small employers who wish to continue to have access to government-funded training provision.”