Employers pledge over 20,000 apprenticeships roles for National Apprenticeship Week

Employers pledge to create more than 20,000 apprenticeships as National Apprentice Week celebrates its seventh year

National Apprenticeship closes to an end today with businesses having pledged over 20,000 additional apprenticeship roles.

In its seventh year, National Apprenticeship Week highlights apprenticeships and the positive impact they make on the economy.

BT, ITV, and Virgin Media will announce their own apprenticeship schemes this week. Small businesses also showed their commitment – 47% of the businesses creating apprenticeships are SMEs. These include companies such as Kent web designers Interactive Red and Grimsby electrical contractors HYBRiD.

Research from the Association of Accounting Technicians revealed apprentices delivered around £1.8bn of net economic benefits to UK organisations last year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The government is putting an end to the damaging divide between vocational and academic learning. We are committing the biggest ever investment in apprenticeships and are on track to create two million apprenticeships over the course of this Parliament.

"The resounding success of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week demonstrates that apprenticeships are deservedly becoming more popular with business of all sizes. Apprentices already contribute £1.8bn to the economy and with these further commitments, thousands more people will now be able to get the practical skills they need to build careers and help firms grow.”

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Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said the government wants to make going to university or into an apprenticeship the new norm: “Over half of young people say they would like to do an apprenticeship if one were available. So it’s great that, as National Apprenticeship Week 2014 comes to a close, we can announce that 20,432 new positions are to be created.”

Hancock said, “we need to help them become work-ready” to give young people the best chance possible of securing an apprenticeship or job and unlock their potential.

“Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents."

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