There was a lot of doom and gloom cast today by an Association of Learning Providers (ALP) conference desperate for reassurance during uncertain times, but through the shadows David Russell, Director of Apprenticeships at DCSF, said there were clear opportunities to be had.
According to Government figures, 53 per cent of all young people who are employed and not in education or training are in the Hospitality and Catering sector.
"I have a feeling this represents a tremendous opportunity for us, and I would be really interested in people’s views as to whether it really is the opportunity it seems to be, and if so how we can make the most of it for the sake of those large numbers of young people in jobs without training in that sector," said Mr Russell.
He also pointed to a potentially bigger opportunity in the public sector. In January, the National Economic Council announced an additional 35,000 apprenticeships to be funded in 2009/10, with 21,000 to come from the public sector. Confirmation has now been gained across Whitehall as to how this will be divided.
Mr Russell said the move is vitally important because the public sector is traditionally poor at promoting and providing apprenticeships, and the measures provide "a very concrete way that the Government can help people, young people and adults, get real help now".
FE News is at the conference, and will bring you more news and video as the event unfolds