Business secretary Vince Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable hails rise in apprenticeships

Figures show there were an extra 100,000 apprenticeships in the last year, twice as many as expected.

Statistics showed there were more than 103,000 additional adult apprenticeship starts over the 2010-11 financial year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The growth in apprenticeships to over double the planned ambition, including sectors such as IT, advanced manufacturing and engineering demonstrates our commitment to delivering the skills businesses need to grow and young people need to build productive careers.

“We’re determined to do more to boost growth, rebalance the economy, extend opportunity and break down barriers between academic and vocational learning.

“Our planned investment will deliver some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and we’ll continue to work with the business community to make it easier for more employers of all sizes to take on an apprentice and reap the benefits they bring.

“With every £1 of Government money delivering a return of some £40 to the wider economy, this is a sound investment in the country’s future.”

Skills Minister John Hayes added: “With the biggest boost in apprenticeship numbers in our history, today marks an historic achievement by learners, employers and training providers. We've achieved growth at every level and for all age groups.”

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It is good news that the Government has delivered more apprenticeships, as youth unemployment is still a problem facing the economy.

“However, now is not the time to get complacent as a raft of new school leavers will be entering the jobs market soon.

“With only one in 10 respondents to an FSB survey saying they took on an apprentice in the last year, more needs to be done to help the smallest firms to take on an apprentice to further rebalance the economy.”

Tom Wilson, director of unionlearn, said: “We urge ministers to continue their support and investment in apprenticeships and hope that this success continues. However, the apprenticeship brand needs to be built on quality as well as quantity - apprentices must be paid fairly and provided with the opportunity for career and academic progression.

“With only 8 per cent of employers providing apprenticeships, we also cannot afford to be complacent about the growth in numbers.”

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