Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced that government has fulfilled its commitment to starting two million apprenticeships in this parliament.
To mark the occasion, the Business Secretary met the two millionth apprentice, Paige McConville in Oxford. Paige, aged 16, began her Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture with high-tech engineering firm, FMB Oxford in August 2014.
Paige took the Business Secretary on a tour of FMB Oxford, explaining how her apprenticeship with the firm is giving her the skills she needs to begin her career as an engineer. The Business Secretary also visited Abingdon and Witney College where Paige and her fellow apprentices study.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Reaching the two millionth apprenticeship is testament to this government’s commitment to apprenticeships.
“Paige and her employer are a shining example of how apprenticeships give young people the chance to start a career and give businesses the talent to grow.
“This isn’t just about numbers. From space engineering, to TV production, to legal services, apprenticeships are the ticket to a great job and a route employers trust to access the skills they need.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in supporting the long term economic plan.
“Thanks to our reforms and through the support of employers like FMB Oxford, apprenticeships are a solid route into some of the country’s most prestigious professions.
“Two million is just the start – I want to see more employers making apprentices a key part of their strategies for growth.
“The Business Secretary also announced 22 new employer-designed apprenticeships in professions ranging from data analysis to civil engineering to health and social care.
“The employers, who are part of the government’s trailblazer scheme, design apprenticeships to meet the needs of their industries making sure people have the right skills to get on in the world of work.
Jayne Sloane, group training manager of trailblazer employer Costain said: “The trailblazer apprenticeships give us the opportunity to ensure apprenticeships are fit for purpose and provide our industry with the skills needed for the future.
“Over 1,000 employers, large and small, are now part of the trailblazers, designing top-quality apprenticeships to address their skills needs.”
Commenting on the announcement of the 2 millionth Apprentice, EEF head of Employment & Skills Policy, Tim Thomas, said: “The boost to Apprenticeships in recent years has been one of the leading achievements of the coalition.
“For a long time the lack of young people choosing this route has been a gap in our country’s armoury and a major contributor to the skills shortage.
“Now is not the time to be complacent however. We need to build on this success story and continue to persuade our brightest and best young people that an Apprenticeship, especially in manufacturing, is every bit as rewarding as other career paths.
“EEF runs its own state of the art Apprentice technology centre in the West Midlands as well as advising companies on how to set up their own Apprentice training programme. You can read about it here.”