Business should continue to value apprenticeships to strengthen the future economy, says Sarah Thwaites, Financial Skills Partnership.

Figures released from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) show apprenticeships on the increase, with 442,700 courses beginning in the 2010/11 academic year. However, concerns abound, about the future of apprenticeships as businesses evaluate their training spend.

Sarah Thwaites, Deputy Chief Executive of Financial Skills Partnership, said, “The steady increase in the number of people beginning apprenticeships is encouraging, but worryingly, some businesses plan to reduce the number of apprentices they take on next year. If the number of available apprenticeships were to regress over the next year, the skills picture and the jobs market would be severely tarnished.

“In order for young people to continue to secure jobs in their chosen profession, there must be a wider range of courses, opportunities and career entry routes available from schools, colleges, universities, training providers and employers. This will address the changing landscape in further and higher education and take into account the different ways people are embarking on the career ladder.”