New figures reveal there were 7,830 Apprenticeship starts in Devon during the academic year 2011/12 – representing growth of 13.5 per cent from the previous year. Indeed, Devon registered the highest number of Apprenticeship starts in the South West region, with starts in the county accounting for 14 per cent of the 55,950 total.
There is a similar positive picture across the country, with Apprenticeship starts in England for 2011/12 topping the half million mark. This is an overall increase of 13.9 per cent on the preceding year.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Whenever I speak to businesses, a lack of trained workers is a frequent concern. Today’s figures mean we are starting to turn the tide. Over half a million people took up an apprenticeship last year, showing that our investment in vocational skills is paying off.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “It’s great news that apprenticeships have gone up by 13.4 per cent in the South West, to 55,950. Apprenticeships are vital in the Government’s drive to create a more highly-skilled workforce who are better able to compete in the global race. We are strengthening apprenticeships further to make them more rigorous, and to respond to the ever-changing needs of the modern workplace.”
David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service said: “I am pleased that new data confirms that Apprenticeships overall are increasingly popular. Apprenticeships have much to offer and by working closely with employers, we have come a long way in raising quality standards.”
“Our immediate and continuing focus is on growing Apprenticeships at 16-18, supported by the Apprenticeship Grant for employers to recruit a young apprentice, which is proving increasingly popular with small employers, and we are putting in place additional measures including a marketing campaign targeted at employers and young people.”
Government funding is available to help companies take on an apprentice. Through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) of 16-24 year olds, businesses who choose to grow their business through Apprenticeships can access funding of £1,500. The grant is open to organisations employing up to 1,000 people, who have never employed an apprentice before, or have not recruited one in the past 12 months.
David Way, continued: “Apprenticeships come with a guarantee of quality, giving young people a job with training, and are proven to deliver a significant return on investment, so this really is a win-win initiative for employers. There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice, so I hope more organisations will look at how they can benefit from this grant over the coming 12 months and reap the rewards of a more motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.”
Around 6,080 Apprenticeship vacancies were advertised in the South West of England last year on the National Apprenticeship Service Apprenticeship Vacancies Database and more than 53,600 applications were generated in the region online.
To find out more about Apprenticeships and AGE 16 -24 and to try the ‘Return on Investment Tool’ or to search for a vacancy, visit apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600.
(from a press release)