Local MP Bill has welcomed news that apprenticeship starts in North Herefordshire rose by 64% last year.

This remarkable figure reflects a series of changes pioneered by the Coalition Government since taking office in May 2010 – in combination with unprecedented levels of funding.

And it looks like the best is yet to come. Prime Minister David Cameron has now announced that:

Businesses and training providers can now bid for a share of £6 million from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund, which will support the development of thousands of new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors including aerospace, energy and renewable technologies.

Small and medium-sized businesses without any apprentices who hire one aged 16-24 are eligible for a £1,500 bonus. Up to 40,000 payments available.

Businesses can bid for a share of a £250 million fund to boost skills in their workplace, giving employers – rather than training providers – direct access to funding.

Bill explained:

‘Invaluable yet often overlooked, apprenticeships are a unique way for young people in Herefordshire to realise their full potential. We’re talking about practical training on a level playing field with academic study – and better paid too.

Half the board at Rolls-Royce began their careers as apprentices. As did the likes of Jamie Oliver and Formula One engineer Ross Brawn. I’m delighted to see that, up and down the country, thousands of young people are following in their footsteps and grabbing this potentially life changing opportunity with both hands.

Here in North Herefordshire we gained 270 new apprenticeships last year alone – representing an impressive increase of 64%. With yet more investment on the way we are bound to see the number rise further.

It just goes to show that Labour had nothing positive left to offer. Back then they hid unemployment with an assessment programme that wasn’t fit for purpose, now all the opposition can do is talk our economy down.

This Government, on the other hand, is committed to creating a highly-skilled workforce ready to take on the best in the world.

I would urge people of all ages to seriously consider giving this fantastic learning experience a go.’