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Drop in apprenticeships is “disgraceful”, says entrepreneur

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Figures published by the government this week revealed a 19 per cent drop in the number of 16 to 18 year olds beginning apprenticeships this year.

Entrepreneur Will Davies, co-founder of aspect.co.uk and a long-term campaigner for apprenticeship reform, says the government should be ashamed: “With one million people unemployed in this country – and the vast majority of them unskilled – it is a disgrace for the government to allow a drop in apprenticeships for the under-19s.”

He adds that a generation of young people are now becoming “totally demoralised” by the job market, adding that if the problem isn’t tackled, Britain will suffer for decades to come.

“The government has been keen to highlight its support for ‘higher’ apprenticeships, but skills training for less qualified youngsters that can provide real jobs are desperately needed. For example, there are massive skill shortages within the building trades,” explains Davies, who created his property maintenance and refurbishment firm after working as an investment bank in the City. 

The figures released by the National Apprenticeship Service also show that in the first nine months of 2012/13, 788,640 youngsters aged between 16 and 18 applied for apprenticeships but only 86,700 (11 per cent) were successful in securing a place.

“Employers like me have been telling government for years now that apprenticeships are the most efficient way to instil the employable skills into Britain’s next generation of workers.

“Too many of our youngsters are leaving school without the basic ‘life’ skills that make them employable. Employers are the people best equipped to oversee our apprenticeship system because they understand the skills they need,” adds Davies.

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