News story

Prime Minister: We'll make apprenticeships a gold standard option for ambitious young people

New round of Government funding to support thousands of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

  • £6m Higher Apprenticeship Fund will deliver thousands more degree level places.
  • £250m given directly to businesses, so they can take control of the way skills training is delivered.
  • £1,500 apprenticeship incentive for small firms now available.

Marking National Apprenticeship Week, the Prime Minister announced a new round of Government funding to help deliver the world class skills firms need to drive growth.

_ Read the Prime Minister’s article on apprenticeships in the Huffington Post _

Businesses and training providers can bid for a share of £6m from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund, which will support the development of thousands of new Higher Apprenticeships 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. Detailed guidance and application forms for the pilot will be issued towards the end of February. Bidding will close on 26 April 2012.

He also announced that from this week, small firms will be offered an incentive of £1,500 to hire their first apprentices aged 16-24. This is expected to support up to 40,000 new apprenticeships over the next year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“I’m delighted to underline our commitment to strengthen our economy by helping employers take on apprentices and ensure that the UK workforce has the skills that businesses need. Under this Government apprenticeship starts are increasing at a record rate, with improvements across the age range, in all sectors, throughout the country.

“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 said:

“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.

“Our mission is to put practical training on a level playing field with academic study, creating a highly skilled, creative workforce that can take on the best in the world.”

Published 7 February 2012