The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is making an additional £38m available for apprenticeships in response to the growing demand from employers.
Part of the money will fund new apprentice places and will be directed to employers and training providers that deliver high-quality apprenticeship programmes. It will help the LSC meet its commitment to increasing the number of young people starting an apprenticeship in 2005 to 175,000.
Stephen Gardner, the LSC’s director of work-based learning, said: “Apprenticeship providers have been reporting waiting lists, and the additional funds will ensure that every employer who wishes to recruit an apprentice can do so.
“The need for additional funds for apprenticeships arises from the success of the LSC’s marketing campaign in attracting new employers to offer apprenticeships, and the efforts of providers, who are improving retention and achievement rates on apprenticeships.
“The number of young people completing their apprenticeship has risen steadily from 28% in 2003/04 to 33% in the current year,” he said. “In construction – one of the key employment sectors for apprenticeships – the completion rate has risen by 8% to 30%.”
The Equal Opportunities Commission recently criticised apprenticeships in a report. It said there was a “marked systemic gender segregation in all occupational sectors”.