Apprenticeship programmes benefit many and various organisations, but often the advisor, potential apprentice or the Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) find the routes into the system confusing. An understanding of the long-term benefits of recruiting, training and later fully employing apprentices is also lacking in many industries. This is complicated further in some languages as there is not one single definition of an apprenticeship. These difficulties for both learners and SMEs influence the perceptions of apprenticeships and ultimately lead to a lower number of available placements and a lower recruitment take up.
Potentially high costs coupled with concerns about returns on investment also deter many SMEs from engaging with apprenticeship programmes
‘Growing Apprenticeship Partnerships for SMEs’ (SME GAP) aims to increase the capacity of intermediary bodies in supporting and facilitating an increase in the supply of apprenticeships in SMEs by addressing particular barriers faced. In order to achieve this, SME GAP will work across UK, Austria and Spain, combining partner organisations from Higher Education, the community and voluntary sector, and a Public Authority from each of the Member States implementing different strategies and types of intervention for supporting apprenticeships.
The overall objective of this partnership is to close the gaps that exist in each partner region, which stop SMEs from participating fully in apprenticeship programmes and to find shared solutions that add significant value and increase the numbers of SMEs taking on apprentices.