89% of UK businesses say that Brexit won’t impact on their hiring plans

• Nearly 200 UK-based employers were surveyed by The 5% Club

• 89% of respondents said Brexit would not impact on the number of apprentices they take on

• The lack of information on apprenticeships in schools cited as main barrier to greater uptake of apprenticeships

According to a new survey of 200 UK employers, 89% of the respondents said that Brexit would not have an impact on their hiring policy – highlighting the increasing confidence that UK businesses will be able to negate any potential labour shortages created by Brexit.

The results of the survey show that while there remains uncertainty about access to the EU labour market following Brexit, employers are confident that apprenticeships can help bridge the gap should the UK lose access to skilled workers.

In fact, the more pressing hiring concerns employers revolved around the availability of information on apprenticeships in schools, with three-quarters (76%) of respondents citing this as the main barrier to young people taking up an apprenticeships. Nine out of ten (90%) respondents believe that improving the quality of information offered by school’s career services could help to change the image of apprenticeships at a national level.

Dispelling the myth around apprenticeships being a lesser option to higher education also featured highly in respondents concerns. The emphasis on pursing higher education was viewed as the second greatest barrier to the uptake of apprenticeships and 87% of the employers surveyed who felt that more should be done at a government policy level to promote apprenticeships as a viable alternative alongside higher education routes.

The survey was carried out by The 5% Club, the employer-led movement focussed on driving momentum into the recruitment of apprentices and graduates, on around 200 of its members, who vary from FTSE 100 listed-companies to SMEs and who operate across a range of different industries.

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here.

Members who sign The 5% Club Charter strive to ensuring 5% of their workforce consists of apprentices, graduates on formal programmes and sponsored students within 5 years of signing up to the initiative.

The 5% Club was launched three years ago by Leo Quinn, Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty, to drive cross-industry action to tackle the national skills shortage and reduce youth unemployment. It recently appointed former Chairman of VisitEngland, Lady Cobham, as the inaugural Director General for the organisation, as it looks to expand its membership to over 200 companies.

Commenting on the survey results, Lady Cobham, Director General of The 5% Club said: “It is positive to see employers reaffirm their commitment to apprenticeships despite the uncertainties presented by Brexit.

“Importantly, our members recognise that a more pressing need is around dispelling the myth that apprenticeships and ‘earn and learn’ placements are reserved for young people with less intelligence and that higher education is the only route to success. Indeed many young people choose pathways which move between vocational and higher education.”

“The 5% Club are passionate champions of vocational training and we hope that many more employers will sign up to our pledge to tackle skills shortages across different sectors and industries. With more and more members joining the initiative, we are getting closer to realising our dream of training the UK’s workforce of tomorrow.”

For more information contact:
Hamish Hardie
Portland Communications
T: 0207 554 1835 / 07563 578 711
E: hamish.hardie@portland-communications.com

Notes to editors:

The 5% Club works with UK employers and key influencers to inspire, educate and retain a growing body of people into “earn and learn” placements in order to increase the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates.

The goal of The 5% Club is to increase the employment and career prospects of today’s youth and equip the UK with the skilled workforce it needs to safeguard Britain’s economy.

The 5% Club was launched in 2013.

Members sign The 5% Club charter. As a member of The 5% Club employers state they are:

• Committed to helping the UK’s growth agenda and acknowledge the importance of developing people as both a business and social imperative

• Playing their part in addressing youth unemployment and skills shortage

• Pledging to work towards having a minimum 5% of their UK workforce enrolled on formalised apprentice, sponsored student and/or graduate development schemes within five years

• Measuring and reporting on their progress annually against the above metric in their Corporate Social Responsibility section of the Annual Report and Accounts or equivalent document

• Committed to encouraging other employers to participate in the campaign.

The Steering Board for The 5% Club is formed of the Chairman, Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive, Balfour Beatty; Allan Cook, Chairman, Atkins; Steve Wadey, CEO, QinetiQ; David Armstrong, UK MD, MBDA.

Membership is free, however going forward the running costs of The 5% Club will be funded by donations from members.