The big corporates were joined by SMEs, with almost half of employers creating new apprenticeships coming from small and medium businesses.
Cambridgeshire retailer Crafting Time, Kent web designers Interactive Red and London charity Lives not Knives are only a few of the SME employers to start taking on apprentices.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “The Government is putting an end to the damaging divide between vocational and academic learning. We are committing the biggest ever investment in apprenticeships and are on track to create 2m apprenticeships over the course of this Parliament.
“The resounding success of this year’s National Apprenticeship week demonstrates that apprenticeships are deservedly becoming more popular with business of all sizes. Apprentices already contribute £1.8bn to the economy and with these further commitments, thousands more people will now be able to get the practical skills they need to build careers and help firms grow.”
Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock MP said: “We want to make going to University or into an apprenticeship the new norm, and over half of young people say they would like to do an apprenticeship if one were available. So it’s great that as National Apprenticeship Week 2014 comes to a close we can announce that 20,432 new positions are to be created.
“In order to give young people the best chance possible of securing an apprenticeship or job and unlock their potential, we need to help them become work-ready. The new traineeships will be crucial to that.
“Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents.”
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