Apprenticeship scheme misses target

A government apprenticeship website backed by business entrepeneur Alan Sugar has filled just one tenth of advertised posts.

The National Apprenticeship Matching Service, launched earlier this year, has filled just 1,185 vacancies out of the 18,000 advertised, according to government figures. The service admitted to the BBC that building up the number of vacancies and applications was “taking time”.

The government came under criticism for the scheme’s television advertising campaign, and for the involvement of Sugar, who has subsequently been made a peer and government enterprise tsar.

While there has been a decline in the number of 16-18 year olds in England starting apprenticeships, the number of apprenticeships taken up by over-25s has increased four-fold. The government spent £2.85m on advertising apprenticeships in 2008-09.

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