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New Government drive to boost apprenticeships

10 Feb 2012

The Government has launched a new drive to make apprenticeships a ‘gold standard’ for young people.

Marking National Apprenticeship Week, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new round of Government funding to support apprenticeships up to equivalent of degree level.

As part of the initiative, small businesses will be offered an incentive of up to £1,500 to hire their first young apprentices.

The Prime Minister also opened the bidding for the new Employer Ownership pilot, which gives employers in England the chance to apply for up to £250m of public investment and to have more of an input into how skills training is designed and delivered.

Businesses and training providers can also bid for a share of the £6m Higher Apprenticeship Fund, which is intended to boost Higher Apprenticeships in such sectors as aerospace, energy and renewable technologies.

Meanwhile, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has urged the Government to simplify the apprenticeship system and to make it more business-friendly.

Jane Bennett of the FPB said, ‘The problem is that the majority of courses are not flexible, which is essential for small firms. There is also a lack of information available to small businesses about course benefits’.