RAISE Support for SMEs engaging in apprenticeships (2016–18)

Funder: Eramus+ (€250,000)

Researchers: European Partners + Dr Padraig Gallagher, Karen McCormick, Dr Isobel Cunningham and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

The continued expansion of European higher education has increased substantially the supply of graduates entering the labour market. Authors such as (Rae, 2007; Pool and Sewell, 2007) have studied the implications of mass higher education for employability. Stewart and Knowles (1999) studied the implications for career development and Love et al. (2001) studied the implications from the employers’ viewpoint. Reforms to apprenticeship systems have generated an excess supply of apprenticeship seekers compared to employer demand. In particular, many Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) feel they can’t afford the staff hours to get involved in apprenticeship programs. Today when SMEs face problems related to start up, innovation and growth, they find help in an ever-evolving, well financed and proactive ecosystem of intermediary organisations: chambers of commerce, enterprise support offices in local authorities, regional economic development agencies, etc. Yet the vast majority of these organisations do not currently provide guidance and/or training to SMEs on the subject of apprenticeships. RAISE seeks to address this situation by building the capacity of intermediary bodies to develop and operate support structures which will facilitate SMEs, especially small and micro enterprises, to become apprentice employers.