James Brokenshire has praised work to strengthen connections between local businesses and Bexleyheath Job Centre Plus during a visit to mark National Apprenticeships Week. James heard about steps to increase opportunities for more local apprenticeships as well as the value of the programme to both local employers and people seeking employment.
The Government has underlined its commitment to apprenticeships by putting the programme at the heart of its skills agenda. Research provided to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills indicates that 80% of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the workplace more effective with 88% saying that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.
More businesses are taking on apprentices with official statistics showing that there were 457,200 apprenticeships starts in 2010/11 – an increase of 63.5% on 2009/10. To encourage more firms to take part in the programme, the Government has said it will offer all small firms that don’t currently hire apprentices an incentive payment of £1,500 through Skillset to take on their first apprentice in 2012/13.
Commenting James Brokenshire said:
“Apprenticeships are a tried and tested model with a proven track record of delivering benefits to apprentices and employers. I welcome the Government’s commitment to increasing the quantity and quality of apprentice opportunities.
“It’s also great to hear about the work that’s taking place locally and how we are seeing real benefits in Bexley. It was particularly good to hear from young people who have gained an apprenticeship and how this has transformed their opportunities and outlook. I would encourage more local businesses to take part and contact Job Centre Plus to find out how they can get involved.”