Gov to support thousands of apprenticeships through new funding, PM says

Posted on 7 Feb 2012

David Cameron today announced a new round of Government funding to support thousands of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent, to help deliver the world class skills UK businesses need to drive growth.

Starting today, businesses and training providers can bid for a share of £6m from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund. Thousands of Higher Apprenticeships will be supported in sectors including aerospace, energy and renewable technologies.

The Prime Minister also opened the bidding for the new Employer Ownership pilot, inviting employers in England to apply to access up to £250m of public investment and secure more control over how skills training is designed and delivered.

He also announced that from this week, small firms will be offered an incentive of £1,500 to hire their first young apprentices. This is expected to support up to 40,000 new apprenticeships over the next year.

David Cameron said: “By making apprenticeships a gold standard option for ambitious young people, we are sending a message that technical excellence is as highly valued as academic prowess. And by focusing investment where it is most needed to deliver sustainable growth and offering real ownership of vocational training to employers, we are equipping businesses with the skills they need to rebalance our economy and distribute opportunity more widely.”

Skills Minister John Hayes also commented: “Clarity of policy and certainty of purpose in Government has delivered a record number of apprenticeships and driven up standards at every level. We must now go further to create new pathways to excellence for the brightest and best young people and help employers to secure the high-quality skills they need.”

In the 2010/2011 academic year, 457,200 started an apprenticeship. This figure represents a 63.5% increase on the previous year.

The National Audit Office estimates that every £1 of public investment in apprenticeships delivers a return of £18 to the wider economy.