A pool of thousands of apprentices could be available to UK employers within a year.
The government’s New Opportunities White Paper on social mobility has called for publicly-funded organisations to be set up to persuade more employers to take on apprentices.
Up to 10 new regional Apprenticeship Training Associations (ATAs) are expected to appear across the UK by the end of 2009. Their remit will be to train up to 15,000 apprenticeships and rent them out to employers by 2015.
The ATAs will draw upon a pot of £7m, set aside last year by Gordon Brown to help increase the numbers of apprenticeships.
The report also calls for groups of employers to create their own training associations and share the costs of apprentices, using money from the same government pot. The scheme is based on an Australian project that now supports more than 42,000 apprentices annually.