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A very welcome result of the recession is that finding the very best candidates is now pretty much free of charge. As a fast growing business we are constantly recruiting electricians, fire alarm, heating and air conditioning engineers to join our team. At any given time we have upwards of five or six vacancies for new team members and like most companies we traditionally had to pay out either to place vacancy advertisements in the press or agency fees to ensure that we attract quality people in sufficient numbers. Over the last six months we have successfully recruited fourteen new colleagues via third party websites. The quality of the candidates is extremely high, so good in fact that we find ourselves selling the advantages of working in our business to them before they agree to an interview and inevitably agree to start with us. We happened on the websites by chance, gave it a try and have found a better way of recruiting. Viva the internet and the tenacity of our HR department.
The government aided new business’ by offering an employers national insurance contribution holiday for the first year of trading albeit with rules and conditions. It was a genuine saving worth around 15k to our business in it’s first critical year and was easily administered. It helped our business to develop by freeing up cash at a time when we needed every bit of help. So why change it? The new system offers considerably less saving so whilst helpful is not as significant as the previous offering. Our business now employs over 80 full time people, pays full national insurance contributions and our business is an asset to the country. Why fix something that’s already working well? The scheme is history to us now but as a contractor working in the service industry we, and this country, need a constant stream of new business start up’s and the success stories that some of them do in time become.
Just when the apprenticeship scheme has bedded in and become an asset to business’ and young people looking for real training delivered with real workplace experience the government moves the goalposts. Why fix something that’s not broken? The new system would not work for our business or similar SME’s. It places additional financial burden and red tape at our doors and renders the taking on of apprentices far less attractive than was previously the case.