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Firms urged to take on more apprentices

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The Government is looking to private firms to create a further 100,000 apprenticeship places over the next three years.

Launching National Apprenticeship Week, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said that investment by employers in on-the-job training will be a key component in a sustainable economic recovery.

The purpose of National Apprenticeship Week is to highlight the value of vocational-based training.

The Government has set aside £1.4 billion for supporting apprenticeships in 2011/12.

Dr Cable said: “I want to reinforce the message to business and young people that apprenticeships are a first-class way to start a career. That is why my department has pledged to work to create some 75,000 additional adult places than those promised by the previous government.

“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.

“I’m calling on more businesses to follow this lead.”

Skills Minister, John Hayes said that apprenticeship frameworks would be renamed to confer greater recognition and status on those who successfully complete their training.

Level 2 (GCSE level equivalent) apprenticeships will now be known as Intermediate Level Apprenticeships. Level 3 (A level equivalent) will become Advanced Level Apprenticeships.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is also working with Sector Skills Councils to develop more Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4) frameworks.

Mr Hayes commented: “Our ultimate goal remains to see apprentices achieve equivalent esteem and status with university graduates, so that a place on an apprenticeship scheme is as valued as one at a university.”

Events during National Apprenticeship Week include conferences and meetings, open days, apprentices working on community projects, apprentice competitions, colleges running radio and press advertising and careers exhibitions for potential apprentices.

More details are available at