Across Scotland, around 15,000 firms account for more than 25,000 new apprenticeships each year.
Three quarters of employers say that apprentices improved their productivity and nine out of ten would recommend apprentices to others in their industry.
However, despite increasing numbers of apprenticeship opportunities small firms could still be missing out, according to Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
The national skills body’s survey of apprentice employer’s showed around 90 per cent of apprentices in Scotland are employed by small businesses.
Yet figures from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) show that only 18 per cent of small businesses have employed apprentices in the past two years.
SDS Head of Region for the north east, Gordon Macdougall, said: “Apprenticeships bring benefits to businesses of all sizes.
“SDS provides support and advice every step of the way for small firms interested in apprenticeships either for existing staff or new recruits.
“We’ll provide funding for training, support to find the right type of apprenticeship for your business and find a training provider in your area.”
Small firms account for almost all Scottish business – around 98 per cent – which employ around one million people.
Senior Head of External Affairs at FSB, Colin Borland, said: “Small firms provide countless jobs in Lerwick, Lanarkshire and beyond and will play a significant role in helping Scotland fulfil its ambitious apprenticeship targets.
“Although the majority of small businesses do not currently participate in the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, a growing number are hiring apprentices – especially those active in their local schools.
“And, if an apprenticeship is right for a business, it’s good to know that advice about the system and help to navigate it is out there.
“FSB therefore welcomes these efforts from Skills Development Scotland to help firms hire an apprentice.”
You can find out more about apprenticeships online by visiting: apprenticeships.scot