The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has called for more organisations to offer apprenticeships, after research found that nearly half of employers have not employed an apprentice in the past three years.
According to the CIPD's 2011 Learning and Talent Development Survey, 45% of employers have failed to offer apprenticeships in the last three years, while two-thirds (68%) said that they consider apprenticeships inappropriate for their organisation.
The research, which surveyed 500 employers, found that only one-third (35%) plan to recruit apprentices this year. By contrast, 43% said that they do not intend to recruit apprenticeships this year (43%) and more than one-fifth (22%) say that they have no set plans due to the uncertain economic climate.
The CIPD said the findings of the survey, which was carried out before the Budget announcement of increased funding for apprenticeship schemes, highlight the need for Government to work with employers to promote the business case for investing in apprenticeships.
However, the Government's commitment to apprenticeships will no doubt be welcomed by businesses, with half (48%) of the respondents saying that more generous public funding would encourage their organisation to create new or additional places.
Katerina Rudiger, skills policy adviser, CIPD, said: "The CIPD welcomes the additional funding for apprenticeships introduced by the Government. Our research shows that this will encourage firms to offer apprenticeships. The fact that many employers think apprentices are not right for their organisation, however, demonstrates that funding alone is not enough. The Government therefore needs to do more to make the business case to employers, highlighting the benefits apprentices can bring to organisations, such as relevant skills, loyalty, higher quality and greater productivity.
"Apprenticeship provision needs to improve, by increasing the volume and quality of relevant training, and also through employers providing clear progression routes. The real return from apprenticeships is only achieved where the employer is willing to provide career progression beyond the initial apprenticeship."