Cameron hails new era of apprenticeships

David Cameron has unveiled a new generation of apprenticeships designed to drive down youth unemployment and make vocational training an attractive choice for thousands of young people.

More than 60 of the UK’s leading businesses have signed up to deliver the new-style schemes, developed in response to last November’s report by entrepreneur Doug Richard, which called for higher-quality training and more educational rigour to give apprenticeships “serious kudos” with both employers and employees.

Visiting the Mini factory in Oxford to meet motor industry apprentices, Mr Cameron announced 100,000 vocational training schemes for young people over the next two years, modelled on successful programmes run by the Prince’s Trust.

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The PM framed the “new era of apprentices” as part of the Government’s efforts to consolidate the growth now returning to the UK economy.

“We know that the economy is turning a corner; GDP figures last week showed the third consecutive quarter of growth and we know we have record levels of employment,” he said. “But we cannot for one moment be complacent. I’m determined we finish the job we started.”

Mr Cameron told trainees at the Mini plant that the reforms would make a “massive difference” to the lives of thousands of young people by ensuring UK companies provide “the best apprenticeships in the world”.

“The reforms we’re announcing today will put employers in the driving seat and ensure that we deliver high-quality training that supports you and our economy for years to come,” he said.

“And as the range of companies signed up today shows, these are apprenticeships in different industries and sectors meaning people have a real choice about the career they want and our economy is balanced.”

More than 60 companies – including Mini owners BMW, BAE Systems, Microsoft and Barclays Bank – have signed up to be “trailblazers” for the new-style apprenticeships.

In future, apprenticeships will last at least a year and will be based on standards designed by employers, to meet the specific needs of their industry and deliver the skills and knowledge an individual needs.