The Government’s aim to create thousands more apprenticeship places over the next few years could be undone by the current economic climate.
That is the argument of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The Government is looking to establish up to 400,000 apprenticeships by 2014 and pledged an additional £180 million in funding in the Budget.
However, the FSB has said that many firms would struggle to create sufficient numbers of training places given the stringency of the economic backdrop.
Rules requiring apprentices to take 280 hours of training away from the workplace will add to the difficulties, the FSB maintained.
The business group said: “It is going to become more difficult for businesses to take on apprenticeships because the training provisions and requirements of running the scheme are becoming more onerous.
“We’re not convinced enough is being done to meet the targets. There is a lot of window dressing at the moment.”
A number of business groups would like the Government to introduce tax breaks for those employers who take on apprentices.