Day: February 14, 2021

‘It’s proved to be a brilliant way of recruiting’

Small business owners may believe in the ethos behind apprenticeships, but many feel they lack the time, resources or knowhow to take on one themselves.

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses found recruitment, time management and facilitating the 20% requirement for off-the-job training have been the biggest challenges for SMEs.

But taking on an apprentice can also be an opportunity to address skills gaps, or diversify into a new area. And there are considerable cost-saving benefits: the government covers 95% of training costs and apprentices are paid a minimum of £4.15 an hour for their first year.

We spoke to three employers about the difference apprentices have made to their small business.

We’ve met rising demand

Charles Rickards and his wife Karina took over the south-west pottery company Cornishware in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2019 – as they repatriated their production process back to the UK – that

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O2 fined £10m for overcharging customers

Mobile network O2 has been fined £10.5m by telecoms regulator Ofcom for overcharging its customers.

For eight years, some customers who were leaving the network were double-charged some fees on their final bills, Ofcom said.

The error affected more than 140,000 pay-monthly subscribers between 2011 and 2019, totalling £2.4m.

O2 said it had refunded many of the customers, adding an extra 4% to the sum involved.

But it has been unable to contact some of its former subscribers. Those refunds will be donated to charity.

Despite the refunds, Ofcom decided that O2 had broken important rules around providing customers with accurate bills and that it deserved a fine.

On top of the 140,000 who paid the extra amount, a further 110,000 people were overcharged a total of £38m – but did not end up paying the bill, and were not due a refund.

Ofcom said that O2 knew about the

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Bloomberg senior writer Onaran among those laid off

Yalman Onaran

Bloomberg News senior writer Yalman Onaran was among the staffers laid off this week.

He joined the company in 1998, originally as the Turkey bureau chief.

Onaran is the author of the 2011 book called “Zombie Banks: How Broken Banks and Debtor Nations are Crippling the Global Economy,” published by John Wiley and Bloomberg Press.

He also covered Wall Street investment banks and was a senior writer at Bloomberg Markets magazine. He’s been a senior writer since 2010, writing about investment banks, international and domestic financial regulation.

Before Bloomberg, Onaran worked for the Associated Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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