More people are starting apprenticeships in Cambridgeshire

Business Secretary Vince Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable - Credit: PA

THE number of apprenticeship opportunities provided in Cambridgeshire increased by nearly 30 per cent last year.

It was revealed 4,180 apprenticeships were started in Cambridgeshire during the academic year 2011/12 – representing a growth of 29.9 per cent from the previous year.

The East of England registered 45,820 apprenticeship starts, representing a 15.2 per cent increase.

Companies have taken advantage of government grants to encourage them to take on young people, enabling them to gain valuable experience and become more attractive to prospective employers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable was encouraged by the figures.

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He said: “Whenever I speak to businesses, a lack of trained workers is a frequent concern. “Today’s figures mean we are starting to turn the tide. Over half a million people took up an apprenticeship last year, showing that our investment in vocational skills is paying off.”

David Way, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “I am pleased that new data confirms that apprenticeships overall are increasingly popular.

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“Apprenticeships have much to offer and by working closely with employers, we have come a long way in raising quality standards.

“Our immediate and continuing focus is on growing apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds, supported by the Apprenticeship Grant for employers to recruit a young apprentice, which is proving increasingly popular with small employers, and we are putting in place additional measures including a marketing campaign targeted at employers and young people.”

Through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) of 16-24 year olds, businesses who choose to grow their business through apprenticeships can access funding of £1,500.

The grant is open to organisations employing up to 1,000 people, who have never employed an apprentice before, or have not recruited one in the past 12 months.

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