Regular reader of my blog will know that I am a big supporter of apprenticeships.
Last year, apprenticeships in Manchester went up from 2580 to 4760 last year, an 84% rise. In Withington Constituency, the figures went to from 350 to 630, an 80% rise.
Last year, as part of National Apprentice Week, I wrote to a thousand local businesses asking them to consider taking on an apprentice. I set a target of 100 new apprentices locally. That target was beaten when, by August, 490 new apprentices had been taken on in the constituency.
The latest national figures are out. More apprenticeships started in 2012 than ever before – 520,000. More than 1 million people have started an apprenticeship since the General Election. The latest figures show a rise of 14% on last year and an 86% increase since Labour.
There was particularly strong growth in the engineering sector, with the number of apprenticeships starting up 21%.
We are delivering a great expansion of apprenticeships in Britain to build a stronger economy and fairer society - giving everyone the opportunity and skills they need to find work and ensure the skills of our workforce fit with the needs of employers.
The National Audit Office estimates that for every £1 of Government investment in apprenticeships, there is a return of up to £18 for the wider economy.
By the end of this Parliament, we will have totally altered the status of apprenticeships in this country.
Vince Cable said his ambition was that by 2015 an 18-year-old leaving school and weighing up the choice of degree versus apprenticeship would do so without factoring in social stigma – seeing them as different but of equal value in terms of experience, job prospects, value for money and earnings potential.
I share Vince's view. And I will be working had to support this years National Apprenticeship Week which is from the 11th-15th of March