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Apprenticeships 'target' exceeded, according to offical statistics

24 June 2011

The government’s ambition to deliver 50,000 additional apprenticeships has been substantially exceeded, according to official statistics, which show that over 103,000 additional adult apprenticeship starts were delivered over the 2010-11 financial year. Business secretary Vince Cable said the growth in apprenticeships to over double the planned ambition, including sectors such as IT, advanced manufacturing and engineering demonstrates a commitment to delivering the skills business needs to grow.

Vince Cable
Vince Cable

"We're determined to do more to boost growth, rebalance the economy, extend opportunity and break down barriers between academic and vocational learning," said Dr Cable. "Our planned investment will deliver some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and we'll continue to work with the business community to make it easier for more employers of all sizes to take on an apprentice and reap the benefits they bring. With every £1 of government money delivering a return of some £40 to the wider economy, this is a sound investment in the country's future."

Skills minister John Hayes described it as the "biggest boost in apprenticeship numbers in our history".

Ann Watson, managing director of specialist awarding organisation, EAL (EMTA Awards Limited), welcomes news that the government has exceeded its targets for creating adult apprenticeship places but warns that this growth must be sustained and spread throughout the industry to have a lasting impact.

“This is fantastic news which shows there is a real appetite among adult learners to take on vocational training and boost their skills and job prospects," she said. "However, the Government must ensure that it continues to promote skilled vocational training and not rest on its laurels, otherwise vital sectors such as engineering or manufacturing could still face a critical skills shortage in years to come.

"The recent introduction of the NUS Apprentice Card is promising sign of a commitment to encouraging people to take up apprenticeships and place vocational education on an equal footing with traditional degrees. However, the government also must ensure that it supports smaller businesses so that they can afford to invest in an apprentice and that it is not just large firms that benefit from government funded training places.”

By the end of this Parliament, the government is committed to supporting an additional 250,000 apprenticeships.

The complete Statistical First Release is available here.

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