Leading employment and skills specialists Working Links welcomes news of the rise in the number of new apprenticeships. Research undertaken by Working Links shows that employers and young people are increasingly aware of the benefits of apprenticeships. In May 2011 Working Links surveyed 500 young people and 350 employers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes today announced that the government’s target of 50,000 new apprenticeships has been substantially exceeded. Statistics show that 103,000 additional new adult apprenticeships started over the 2010-2011 financial year. There are now more apprentices in the UK than ever before.

Mike Lee, Director of Skills at Working Links, said:

“Working Links welcomes the announcement on apprenticeship numbers. We see apprenticeships as critical to addressing youth unemployment and giving young people the skills they need for the 21st century. However, we are still concerned that too few young people are able to access an apprenticeship. For apprenticeships to have a real impact on youth unemployment we will need to see more provision of pre-apprenticeship training, extending access to apprenticeships for all.”

Mike Lee added:

“We have recently completed research into young people and employer attitudes to apprenticeships. The results of this research, together with our experience of working with young people, the unemployed and employers, will shape a series of recommendations to government.”

“We are working with Rathbone in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure that young people on the Work Programme have access to a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities and sectors of employment. Working Links has developed a 12-week ‘Access to Apprenticeships’ programme that combines proven approaches to employability support and job brokerage with employer-led basic skills and pre-employment training.”