the institute for employment studies
Access to national skills and
business support programmes
among rural businesses
Jim ...
Introduction
 Defra/BIS study about access to business support
● Reviewed the literature
● Analysed relevant surveys :
 ...
National support provided by government
Source: IES, 2013: Government support for SMEs (BIS 2013)
Sector
Performance
Size
...
What we found: headline results
 No evidence that rural businesses are less
likely to access national support programmes
...
Rural businesses are different, but face
similar challenges to urban businesses
 Rural businesses are more likely to be:
...
Take-up of business and skills support is
generally low
 Not all employers need help
 Not all employers who do need help...
Awareness and take-up of different
support programmes varies
 Compared with urban businesses, rural businesses are:
● Mor...
UKCES study found similar results
 High incidence of hard-to fill vacancies in rural
areas – but explained by size and ty...
Needs for rural businesses
 Limited labour pool
 Accessibility
● Transport – travel to work or training
● Access to broa...
Factors affecting access to business support
Take-up of
Support programmes
Programme
Design
Programme
Eligibility
Applicat...
Factors affecting access to business support
Take-up of
Support programmes
Programme
Design
Programme
Eligibility
Applicat...
What can be done to improve take-up
among rural AND urban businesses
 Proactively seek to provide likely businesses with ...
… thank you
www.employment-studies.co.uk
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Advice and Training: Rural access to National employer skills and Government business support programme - Jim Hillage, Director of Research, Institute for Employment Studies

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Advice and Training: Rural access to National employer skills and Government business support programme - Jim Hillage, Director of Research, Institute for Employment Studies

  1. 1. the institute for employment studies Access to national skills and business support programmes among rural businesses Jim Hillage
  2. 2. Introduction  Defra/BIS study about access to business support ● Reviewed the literature ● Analysed relevant surveys :  Small Business Survey (SBS)  Employer Perspectives Survey (EPS) ● Examined programme admin data ● Interviewed stakeholders and employers  UKCES study about approaches to training and recruitment: ● Employer Skills Survey (ESS) and EPS
  3. 3. National support provided by government Source: IES, 2013: Government support for SMEs (BIS 2013) Sector Performance Size RDPE Targeted support Generic support
  4. 4. What we found: headline results  No evidence that rural businesses are less likely to access national support programmes than businesses from urban areas  Take-up does vary by location but the driving factors are business size, sector and age  However access (for all businesses) could be improved
  5. 5. Rural businesses are different, but face similar challenges to urban businesses  Rural businesses are more likely to be: ● Smaller – lots of sole traders ● Based in land-based, retail, construction or professional sectors  More rural employees work in SMEs ● Higher proportion of operatives employed in rural areas and a lower proportion of professional and admin staff
  6. 6. Take-up of business and skills support is generally low  Not all employers need help  Not all employers who do need help know what is available  Need for better (tailored) information  Employers can be deterred from applying for support by the concerns about the application processes and eligibility criteria.
  7. 7. Awareness and take-up of different support programmes varies  Compared with urban businesses, rural businesses are: ● More likely to be aware of and sought help from Business Link ● More likely to have contacted professional bodies, local authorities and learning providers ● Just as likely to have tried to access financial support and more successful in obtaining it ● Slightly more likely to provide external training ● Less likely to be IIP accredited ● Less likely to be aware of the Work Programme and other labour market policies  However patterns of awareness and access largely driven by size, sector and age rather than location ● New firms and larger firms more aware of sources of business support ● Rural businesses more likely to be successful in applying for funding ● Rural business more likely to seek advice on e-commerce and technology
  8. 8. UKCES study found similar results  High incidence of hard-to fill vacancies in rural areas – but explained by size and type of business rather than being urban or rural.  Rural business tend to have a more informal approach to training ● Less likely to plan or have a budget ● More likely to use FE colleges than urban businesses ● Less likely to train for qualifications
  9. 9. Needs for rural businesses  Limited labour pool  Accessibility ● Transport – travel to work or training ● Access to broadband ● Access to networks  Otherwise similar needs to other businesses: ● Level of demand ● Access to finance ● Coping with regulations ● Employment, premises and other costs
  10. 10. Factors affecting access to business support Take-up of Support programmes Programme Design Programme Eligibility Application Process Marketing Size Sector Age
  11. 11. Factors affecting access to business support Take-up of Support programmes Programme Design Programme Eligibility Application Process Ensure quick return Keep it simple Minimise cost Make it savvy Monitor by location Segment the offer Personal approaches Marketing Size Sector Age
  12. 12. What can be done to improve take-up among rural AND urban businesses  Proactively seek to provide likely businesses with support ● Tailor offers to segmented sectors  Personal approaches more effective than anonymous on-line methods ● Or use trusted intermediaries  Ensure a quick return ● Emphasise opportunity cost  Minimise cost of access ● Make the rules simple to understand  Keep choice to a minimum, to make it easier to ‘go with the flow’  Tap into local networks ● Indentify local champions  Present those who do access support as being ‘on the ball’ and ‘in the know’  Regularly monitor take-up by locality
  13. 13. … thank you www.employment-studies.co.uk

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