Tag Archives: economy

Apprenticeship numbers hit record high


The number of people taking part in apprenticeships is at an all-time high.

According to the latest figures released by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), 860,000 individuals started one in 2012-13, with over 1.5 million taking place since 2010.

BIS says that the gold standard of apprenticeships – which covers higher and advanced levels – has attracted a record number of participants.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “There are now more options than ever before, with a focus on the quality and rigour that people and employers want from apprenticeships.”

He added that it was “good news” for the economy, while also highlighting that it is quickly becoming “the new norm” to either start work-based training or go to university.

All programmes now last at least one year and involve on-the-job tuition.

Have you felt the benefit of taking on an apprentice? What difference do you think they can make to small to medium-sized enterprises?

Posted by the Secret Businessman

£37.5m investment pot available to SMEs in government drive


Innovative small to medium-sized enterprises are set to benefit from a new £37.5 million government-backed scheme.

Business secretary Vince Cable announced details of a new scheme yesterday (October 8th), which will support those who invest in high-growth small businesses

Mr Cable has said that he is “determined” to give SMEs the financial support needed in order to help them grow.

Episode 1 will use the funding to put between £250,000 and £2 million into around 20 to 30 technology firms in their early stages. 

Alongside the government’s £25 million, a further £12.5 million has been raised through private investment.

One of Episode 1’s partners is Dr Simon Murdoch, who has invested in companies including LoveFilm, Shazam and Zoopla over the last ten years.

He said: “I know from personal experience, it is hard to start and grow a business, even without the added difficulties of the current economic climate.”

Posted by the Secret Businessman

CBI reveals plans to encourage SME growth


A series of new measures have been unveiled to encourage growth for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has partnered with built asset consultants EC Harris to develop a new report on how to rejuvenate the economy.

Among the study is a call to offer a business rates “holiday” for firms during their first year after moving into empty premises in an attempt to reduce the number of uninhabited properties on the high street.

Another measure is to encourage public bodies to free up surplus assets – including properties and land – to allow for future regeneration. The idea here is to create modern offices and good transport links, which will in turn encourage SMEs to invest.

EC Harris’s UK regional leader Tim Neal said: “The private sector has an important role to play in fostering the growth of our local economies and creating thriving communities across the country.”

Posted by the Secret Businessman