Skip To The Main Content


The Issue

We believe apprenticeships – jobs that include gaining recognised qualifications and essential skills whilst working and earning a wage – are an effective way of preserving important skills, transferring knowledge and keeping key trades and professions alive. Recruiting an apprentice makes good business sense, which is why a quarter (24%) of our members with staff currently have at least one in their business.

However, there are still barriers that can inhibit small businesses’ ability to take on apprentices, such as cost and access to information. In May 2017 the Government announced new funding arrangements for businesses that will not pay the apprenticeship levy, including additional financial support for small businesses with under 50 staff if they recruit an apprentice aged 16-18, which FSB has lobbied for.

Action FSB have taken

  • We continue to work with the Government to ensure that the apprenticeships provide small businesses with a high-quality, financially viable and straight-forward way to improve their skills base.
  • We’re working with the Government and the Careers Enterprise Company to make it easier for small businesses to get involved in educating young people about, among other things, apprenticeships. 
  • We’re lobbying to give small businesses a louder voice in the development of technical education, including feeding lessons from apprenticeship reform into the creation of new technical pathways.
  • We produced a guide on apprenticeship funding for small businesses in 2017.

Our Goal

Successful businesses recognise the value of investing and training apprentices. We want to see small firms choosing to get involved in apprenticeships, because they offer high-quality training that is truly employer-led and represents a sound investment in their future.

“The opportunity to get young people into work and training is massive, if we can get it right” FSB Member.   

Achievements in...



  • We helped to secure additional funding support for small firms who will struggle to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.
  • We published a report on maximising the role of small businesses in supporting apprenticeships growth, Make or break: Getting apprenticeship reform right for small businesses.
  • We’re part of the Government’s Apprenticeship Stakeholder Board, ensuring that small businesses are heard.
Visit UK/Westminster section


  • FSB Wales has secured a £40 million package, which offers small businesses up to £3,900 of funding towards the apprentice's salary in the first 12 months, and up to £500 per business for administration costs.
Visit Wales section


  • We secured a £4,000 allowance that micro and small businesses can use to offset the costs of hiring an apprentice.
Visit Scotland section

Legal Protection Scheme

Legal protection covers various scenarios and ensures you and your business are covered

Find out more

Related news