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He may have only been in the role a little over a month but the new business secretary Sajid Javid isn’t wasting any time in putting SMEs at the forefront of the Tory government’s agenda. Not long after unveiling the Enterprise Bill – which aims to reduce the regulatory burden on small firms and help them grow – Javid has announced a new scheme to place apprentices into the 850 SMEs listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s growth market for ambitious small- and medium-sized businesses.
The London Stock Exchange Group Foundation has committed an initial £20,000 to underwrite the cost of administering the scheme, which was revealed at an event last night celebrating the 20th anniversary of AIM. Javid said it would “bring together innovative new companies that are the future of British business and the hardworking young apprentices who are the future of the British workforce”.
The scheme will be run by City Gateway, a London charity that looks to get young and disadvantaged people into work, and supports the government’s commitment to create three million new apprenticeships in the next five years. It also follows the announcement earlier this week that the term ‘apprenticeship’ is now protected in law, ensuring apprenticeships are recognised as a career path equal to university education.
“World-class apprenticeships are essential to support our employers and give hope and opportunity to young people,” Javid added. “We are committed to three million new apprenticeship starts in this parliament and AIM’s apprenticeship scheme is exactly the kind of project that will help make that vision a reality.”
Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group, said: “Matching the UK’s most dynamic growth companies with talented young people seeking life-changing opportunities is a win-win. 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.”
Eddie Stride, CEO of City Gateway, added: “Just as SME growth is critical for a diverse and healthy economy, so is the opportunity apprenticeships offer unemployed young people, enabling them to build careers and become active citizens in our society and economy.”
With London’s stock already pretty high as a global business hub, schemes like this should go a long way to cementing the city’s reputation for years to come.