Employer engagement with ITOs

Find out how many employers engage with ITO training

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It is important for ITOs to know how many businesses in the sectors they serve have staff engaged in training. In many trades, a large proportion of businesses are sole traders with no employees. By definition, these businesses will have no employees engaged in training. In general, larger businesses are more likely to have employees in training. 

Business entities in a sector

To orient ourselves, we give a summary of the businesses in each trade sector. We define a business’ size by the number of people it employs. People who are self-employed with no employees will have a size of zero. We show how many businesses there are of each size, and how many employees are employed by businesses of each size. In the first chart below, we show the number of businesses in each sector over time, segmented by the number of employees they have. In terms of the number of entities, most sectors are dominated by sole operators and small businesses.

The next chart shows the number of employees working for firms of different sizes in each sector. From this perspective, larger businesses (more than 20 employees) make up a larger share of each sector. 

Employers with apprentices

We would like to know what percentage of employers are engaged with the ITO training system. To do this, we track the percentage of businesses who have had an employee in ITO training in the previous five years. The number in training includes only those enrolled with the relevant ITO for the sector.

A significant majority of large businesses have recently had an employee in training, though the number of smaller businesses who have recently had an apprentice is also significant. We would expect the general trend of larger businesses being more likely to have had an apprentice simply on the basis that they have a larger pool of employees.

Proportion of workers training

We can also look at what proportion of employees among each type of business were recently engaged in training. This takes into account the fact that larger businesses are simply more likely to have an employee in training at any given time.

Across all of the sectors we consider, the percentage of employees recently in training does not vary much by business size. However, this disguises significant differences among sectors served by the different ITOs. For sectors served by BCITO, smaller businesses have had more of their employees recently in training. For sectors served by Competenz, it is the larger businesses that have had more of their staff in training. This likely reflects differences in the types of training in each sector.

This approach also allows us to determine the proportion of women in training compared to men. We generally see that women are engaged in training at lower rates than men, since many of the women in trade industries are not in trade roles.


Employer engagement with ITOs is already high among large employers when measured by the percentage of employers who have recently trained staff through an ITO. When we measure by the proportion of employees who have recently been trained, we find that small businesses in sectors served by BCITO and The Skills Organisation are strongly engaged with ITOs. 

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