HR & Management

Government’s apprenticeship drive hits the capital markets

3 min read

18 June 2015

Former editor

On the eve of its 20th birthday, 850 of the Alternative Investment Market’s (AIM) 1100 companies have pledged to “open doors to apprentices” as part of a drive to encourage more high-growth SMEs to use the recruitment and training process.

The companies signing up to the initiative represent the constituent of the junior stock exchange which are based in the UK, and the hope is that it will bring together “innovative companies” and “hardworking young apprentice”, both representing the “future” of both British business and the British workforce respectively.

David Cameron’s government has committed to produce three million apprenticeships by 2020, and has diversified the offering by implementing higher-level programmes, recruiting Trailblazer companies to administer them and raising the minimum wage offered to apprentices.

Commenting on the launch, business secretary Sajid Javid stated that world class apprenticeships are “essential” to support the UK’s employers and give opportunities to young people.

“We are committed to three million new apprenticeships in this parliament, and AIM’s apprenticeship scheme is exactly the kind or project that will help make that vision a reality,” he added.

To support the scheme, the London Stock Exchange Group Foundation has provided an initial £20,000 to underwrite the cost of administering the scheme, while additional funds were raised at a 20th birthday celebration for AIM. The scheme will be run by City Gateway, an educational charity that supports disadvantaged and disengaged young people and women into employment though training and apprenticeships.

Earlier in June, apprenticeships were given legal status, which puts them on a reputational par with university degrees and gives power to move against those misusing the term to promote low-quality courses.

Read more about apprenticeships in the UK:

Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange, said: “SMEs are a key driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth in the UK. Matching the UK’s most dynamic growth companies with talented young people seeking life- changing opportunities is a win-win. We have worked with City Gateway to provide apprentices with careers in the City of London and this new scheme builds on that success.

“The government’s focus on prioritising the creation of more apprenticeships is key to giving young people a great future and increasing opportunity for all‎, and we are delighted to be involved.”

Recent research from professional services firm Grant Thornton revealed the overall economic impact of UK AIM companies is equivalent to £25bn in GDP and 731,000 jobs. The 65 consumer goods companies on AIM have an aggregate market cap of £5.3m, the 119 technology companies £10m and 118 industrial businesses £10.3m.