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Education, Skills and Training

The Issue

A skilled workforce - and being skilled oneself - is vital to running a successful, resilient and agile small business. Today the impact of technology on business and the fact that people are working for longer, means it’s crucial for business leaders and workers to learn and apply new skills. Other skills, such as leadership and management skills, remain key to business productivity.

Our research shows that while small businesses recognise the advantages of training their employees, many do not invest in formal training because of the time, cost and training availability issues. We want the Government to make training more accessible and help small firms invest in areas such as digital skills and leadership and management skills. This will boost productivity and the economy as a whole.

Action FSB has taken

  • We’re campaigning for the Government to help small businesses identify relevant training opportunities and raise awareness of tax relief for training and allow tax-deductions for training courses for the self-employed that develop new, not just refresh existing, skills, as incentive.
  • We’re calling for Growth Hubs and LEPs to work together to provide digital skills training to small firms and their staff.
  • We have published a report showing small businesses’ attitudes towards, and  investment in, skills and training and examining skills shortages and skills gaps experienced by them, Learning the Ropes: Skills and Training in Small Businesses
  • We’re making the case for small firms to invest in their workforce and identify skills gaps.

Our Ask

To address the UK’s productivity deficit, businesses need a skilled workforce with effective leaders and managers. Our research shows that almost half (46%) of small businesses lack full proficiency within their workforce. We want to help small firms invest in training, to ensure all employees have the necessary skills to adapt to changes in the workplace.

Achievements in...



  • Raising the profile of future skills needs of businesses, in our work on productivity with the ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP for Small Business.
  • Helping to equip young people with leadership skills, in our work on enterprise education.
  • In 2015 the Government announced a new degree apprenticeship which we support.

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