Business Secretary Vince Cable has urged more employers to drive economic growth by creating a new generation of skilled workers, while underling the government’s commitment to increase the budget for apprenticeships to over £1,400m in 2011-12.
In support of National Apprenticeship Week, Dr Cable welcomed the expansion of British Airways successful engineering apprenticeship scheme, and ministers also praised UK firms including British Gas, BT and Jaguar Land Rover, which between them will create thousands of new apprenticeship places this year.
Calling on firms to follow the lead of these employers, Dr Cable said that the government wanted to work with business to deliver 100,000 more apprentices by 2014.
"I want to reinforce the message to business and young people that apprenticeships are a first-class way to start a career,” says Cable.
"Some of the most prestigious companies in England – large and small, public and private – employ apprentices and benefit from doing so. More than 30 per cent of Rolls-Royce apprentices have progressed to senior management roles within the company, and 80 per cent of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive.”
During National Apprenticeship Week Cable is visiting HMS Sultan, a large apprentice training base in Gosport, Portsmouth to meet apprentices in a range of disciplines, including engineering for the Royal Navy and Network Rail.