Business Secretary Vince Cable today unveiled fresh plans to boost the number of employers offering apprenticeships and new measures to ensure more young people benefit from such schemes.
Addressing business leaders at today’s Apprenticeship Summit hosted by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Mr Cable pledged to slash the red tape that can deter companies from taking on apprentices and provide financial incentives to help smaller firms recruit young apprentices.
“The apprenticeships programme is a success story, with record numbers of learners starting an apprenticeship this year. But I have listened to employers, and will go further to ensure that investment is targeted where impact is greatest, delivering the specific skills businesses need to drive growth, said Vince Cable.
Government will offer small companies with up to 50 employees an incentive payment in the region of £1,500 to help them to take on one apprentice. Ministers say this would support approximately 20,000 new apprenticeships in 2012-13.
Processes will be simplified to make it quicker and easier for employers to take on new apprentices. Ministers are also keen to streamline current health and safety requirements so that there are no additional demands on employers that already meet national standards.
“Apprenticeships are proven to boost the life chances of young people, and are a sound investment in our future competitiveness. Apprenticeships will remain the gold standard for excellence in vocational training – but where red tape serves no purpose, we’ll strip it away,” Mr Cable continued.
“The automotive industry invests heavily in its workforce and provides some of the highest quality apprenticeship schemes in manufacturing,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.
“I am delighted to see government continuing to support apprenticeships with new incentives designed to encourage greater delivery of schemes, ensuring that young people gain both the expertise and skills to help drive and shape the future of production industries.”
Today’s announcements form part of government’s growth review and builds on the set of reforms outlined in the first Plan for Growth that included rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing. This latest boost to UK apprenticeship schemes is another example of how government is working with industry to tackle youth unemployment and encourage young people to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing.
The Automotive Council launched the second phase of the ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ campaign last month to showcase the range of career opportunities available to young people in all areas of automotive manufacturing.