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Bill aims to attract 20% of young people into apprenticeships

16 July, 2008

New measures to ensure that all apprenticeships are of a uniform high quality, and have the confidence of both apprentices and employers, have been announced by the Government with the publication of its draft Apprenticeships Bill.

The Bill will establish a statutory basis for the apprenticeships programme and set out the relationship between different parts of the apprenticeship system. It will ensure that schools provide advice about apprenticeships, so that young people are properly informed about apprenticeships as a career choice.

Ten years ago, just 75,000 people started apprenticeships. Over the past decade, the number of young people and adults entering apprenticeships has more than doubled, with 184,000 starting last year. But the Government`s recognises that it needs to go further, and increase the number of apprenticeships available substantially.

The draft Bill seeks to establish apprenticeships as a mainstream learning option alongside going to college or university. The Government expects that around one in five of all young people will be undertaking an apprenticeship in the coming decade.

The proposed Bill will:
• ensure there are enough apprenticeship places available for all suitably qualified young people to take up a place from 2013;
• outline the role of the new National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which will lead the Apprenticeships programme, acting as a one-stop shop for employers and making it easier for them to offer apprenticeships; and
• bring together services and operations currently dispersed among a variety of agencies, with NAS operating an apprenticeship vacancy matching service, linking potential apprentices with potential employers.

The Government plans to increase funding available for the Apprenticeships programme by almost a quarter between 2007-08 and 2010-11, to over £1bn. Three-quarters of this will be available for 16–18 year-olds.

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