Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes are urging employers across the UK to invest in Apprenticeships to help drive economic growth.
During their call, which was made as part of Apprenticeship Week 2011, they re-iterated the importance of investment in training for the next generation of highly skilled workers.
Research has also shown that apprentices will earn between £70,000 and £100,000 more during their lifetime, compared with those who had not achieved the grade.
Dr Cable and Mr Hayes also underlined the government’s commitment to increasing the budget for Apprenticeships to more than £1,400 million in 2011-12.
“I want to reinforce the message to business and young people that Apprenticeships are a first-class way to start a career,” said Dr Cable.
“That is why my Department has pledged to work to create some 75,000 additional adult places than those promised by the previous government.”
According to Dr Cable, the Government also wants to work with businesses to deliver 100,000 more apprentices by 2014.
The ministers also praised UK firms including British Gas, Superdrug, Morrison’s, BT, McDonalds and BAE systems, which have helped to create 12,000 new Apprenticeships this year.
They also heralded the expansion of British Airways’ successful engineering Apprenticeship scheme to take on 120 students this year.
Dr Cable has appealed to more businesses to follow the lead of employers such as these.
He continued: “Some of the most prestigious companies in England – large and small, public and private – employ apprentices and benefit from doing so.
“More than 30% of Rolls-Royce apprentices have progressed to senior management roles within the company. And 80% of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive.
“I’m calling on more businesses to follow this lead.”
Mr Hayes also announced that Apprenticeship frameworks were to be renamed in order to confer greater recognition, and to make it clear that apprentices can progress to higher stages of learning, including university.
“Our ultimate goal remains to see apprentices achieve equivalent esteem and status with university graduates, so that a place on an apprenticeship scheme is as valued as one at a university,” he said.
“In government, I have sought to characterise our policy by its commitment to apprenticeships. In my role as Minister at the Department for Education, I will work with the National Apprenticeship Service to bring forward plans for graduation ceremonies for apprentices and their families, together with an apprentice honour roll.
“BIS and the National Apprenticeship Service will facilitate the creation of alumni network, mirroring those currently used by graduates.”
Apprenticeship Week 2011, which runs from 7-11 February, is a programme of more than 500 events and activities that are being held to raise the profile of Apprenticeships.
(Pictured: Business Secretary Vince Cable)