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£11m carrot to shore-up recession-hit apprenticeships


Businesses across the country have been offered a 'share' of an £11m pot, in a bid to create nearly 3,000 new apprenticeships.

The news comes hot on the heels of John Denham's announced desire to see a 'summer of learning' - with a £20m pledge for informal learning, and £75m to provide childcare for those on low income who'd like to participate.

The announcements - part of the government's focus on training and skills in their battle against the recession - were made as unemployment climbed to 2.2m people.

Businesses which already have a proven track record in offering high-quality apprenticeships will share the cash to train extra apprentices - over and above those they already employ. This will result in around 3,000 new apprentices being trained at 16 firms over the next two years and allow smaller firms to benefit from the expertise of businesses which have been training apprentices successfully for some time.

Nearly 60% of the funding will be targeted towards 16- to 18-year-olds with the majority of the remaining support going to support 19- to 24-year-old apprenticeships.

The move will help deliver on the government's recent commitment to fund an extra 35,000 places across the public and private sectors backed by an additional £140m of funding.

Skills Secretary John Denham said: "In these tough times we are determined to do all we can to support business to prepare for the upturn and continue to invest in improving the skills of the nation's workforce."

Children's secretary Ed Balls added: "We will not sit back during the current downturn or cut our investment when the priority is to build a talented, skilled and motivated workforce for the future.

"That's why we are running a major campaign, fronted by Sir Alan Sugar, to increase the number of employers with apprentice places and are legislating to give a statutory entitlement to an apprenticeship to suitably qualified young people and adults.

"It is fantastic that these employers are working with us in planning for the long term, investing in their wider supply chains and supporting their local economy."

In April the National Apprenticeship Service was launched to deliver and fund apprenticeship places across England. It's main aim will be to make it as easy as possible for employers to take on apprentices, and provide support to both the employer and learner.


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