NICK Clegg has called for vocational learning to be put on the same pedestal as academia as the Government announced the number of apprenticeships created in Yorkshire has doubled in the last four years.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the country had been held back in the past by “barely concealed snobbery” about work-based learning.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “We need to put these two forms of learning, academic learning and vocational learning, library learning and learning by doing, we need to put them on the same pedestal.
“That’s what this massive expansion of apprenticeships is all about. I want mums and dads when they are having that kitchen table discussion with their sons and daughters about what they are going to do in the future to be as enthusiastic that their daughter and son might take up an apprenticeships as they are about their daughter or son going to university.”
New figures show that 240,810 people began an apprenticeship in Yorkshire in the past four years compared to 122,140 in the four years before the last election.
The figures are mirrored nationally with the two millionth apprenticeship since 2010 due to be started in the coming days.
Mr Clegg said: “There have frankly in the past have been some instances in the past of employers taking on apprentices but actually all it amounted to was a form of low paid labour exploitation.
“That is completely wrong and we have put an end to that. We have stopped very short apprenticeships, apprenticeship’s can’t be shorter than a year, we have included much more stringent maths and English requirements.
“And crucially we’ve given employers a much greater say, a much greater role, in designing the apprenticeship qualifications so they really do match the skills needs of employers.”
A database of skills courses will be launched in September 2015.