This figure includes gains to the economy from higher wages, business profits and taxes of £31 billion per year, an estimated reduction in unemployment benefit payments of £370 million per year, and benefits to organisations while training apprentices of £1.9 billion per year (in 2014 prices). The ratio of benefits to costs of apprenticeships is £21 for the national economy for each £1 of public money spent*.

In addition the research shows that the number of people starting an apprenticeship each year has grown from around 100,000 in 1950 to more than 440,000 people in 2013-14, and the government is on course to deliver in excess of 2 million apprenticeships in the lifetime of this parliament**.

If this upward trend in recruitment continues, the national economy stands to gain £50 billion by 2025 and £101 billion by 2050. If the number of employers taking on apprentices rises still further, these benefits could increase by £8 billion in 2050, giving a total gain of £109 billion.

This research is published ahead of a ‘Made by apprentices 1914 – 2014’ event taking place today on board HMS St Albans, marking 100 years of apprenticeships. Employers who have been delivering apprenticeships for 100 years will attend, along with some of their apprentices.

Employers will include the Ministry of Defence, the largest employer of apprentices in the UK, large independent retailer the Lincolnshire Co-op, leading engineering support service provider Babcock International Group and Merseyside shipbuilder Cammell Laird.

‘Made by apprentices 1914-2014’ will recognise all the employers taking part in the Centenary Apprenticeship Programme and the contribution of apprentices past and present.

Minister of State for Skills Nick Boles said:

Today’s celebration of a hundred years of apprenticeships demonstrates how they have long played a key role in the workforce and commemorates the contribution apprentices have made to employers and the nation. Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to equip people with the skills that employers need to grow and compete.

The Agency is urging employers to recognise the positive impact apprenticeships have made over the past hundred years and to consider how an apprenticeship could benefit their business in 2014 and beyond. The National Apprenticeship Ambassador Network is an employer-led body that aims to encourage more employers to become involved in apprenticeships in England.

David Meller, Chair of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN), said:

This report clearly shows how worthwhile apprenticeships are for employers. By investing some of their time in the short-term in training an apprentice, businesses will profit for many years to come from a more highly-skilled and productive workforce. I would urge employers to consider how an apprenticeship could benefit their business in 2014 and beyond and to get in touch with their local ambassadors network.

You can read the full press release and the results of the Cebr report on the Apprenticeships website.

You can hear employers and individuals talk about what apprenticeships mean for them by watching the video shown at the event on board HMS St Albans.

*In 2010, with government funded apprenticeships worth £1.2 billion, Cebr estimates benefits of £25.3 billion, a ratio of benefits to costs of £21 to each £1 of public spending.

**In 1950 data was collected by calendar year rather than academic year as it is today.