‘Red tape hits job creation’
SMALL businesses looking to create jobs for young people are being penalised by Government red tape, it’s been claimed.
Phil Wood, managing director of Barringtons Chartered Accountants in Newcastle, wanted to take advantage of a new Government scheme offering a £1,500 incentive for small firms taking on an apprentice.
From left, Barringtons managing director Phil Wood with apprentices Stuart Siddall, Liam Gibson and Abigail Johnson. Picture: Neil Hulse.
Barringtons hired its first-ever apprentice in November and Mr Wood hoped the cash would help him recruit more.
But after further investigation he discovered that AGE 16 to 24, introduced last month via the Government’s National Apprenticeship Service, was not available for any firm that has taken on an apprentice in the last three years.
Mr Wood, who is president of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are keen to give young people a chance and red tape like this damn well winds me up. There’s no need for it.
“What difference does it make if I took on an apprentice a few months ago? This scheme should encourage businesses to take on more.
“If this is about getting young people into work, do away with these stupid rules.”
Barringtons, which also has a base in Nantwich, has since taken on two further apprentices – a figure which could have been higher had the firm been eligible for the incentive funding.
Liam Gibson, aged 20, and 19-year-old Stuart Siddall, both from Biddulph, are studying for accountancy qualifications at Babington Business College while gaining experience at Barringtons’ Etruria Road base.
Abigail Johnson, aged 22, of Newcastle, has joined its sister company, BCR, working with the insolvency specialist as a junior administrator.
National Apprenticeships Service project director Michele Roberts confirmed: “Employers who have recruited apprentices since April 2009 or after, are not eligible for the grant.
“These employers can still recruit apprentices but will not be supported by AGE 16 to 24. The training costs for a 16 to 18-year-old will be fully met and for 19 to 24-year-olds 50 per cent of the training costs are covered by the Government.”
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