By Samuel Jackson
Vacancies for apprenticeships in Worcestershire have increased by 64 per cent since last year, according to data revealed today.
640 vacancies were advertised online between August and October in 2014, compared to 390 during the same period in 2013.
Conservative MP for Worcester Robin Walker welcomed the news.
He said: “This is very positive news for Worcester.
“During my time as MP youth unemployment has almost halved, and these vacancies will help improve that figure.”
Skills Minister Nick Boles said he wanted choosing between going to university or starting an apprenticeship to become the new norm.
He said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of the government’s drive to equip people with the skills employers need.
“It’s so encouraging to see even more excellent apprenticeship opportunities available across the country.”
These figures come after many Worcestershire-based companies are offering more and more apprenticeships.
One company that has recently made vacancies for apprentices in the area is St Johns Window Centre.
The company’s marketing director Garry Monk was very impressed with local apprentices at a meeting organised by Mr Walker on Thursday.
He said: “I could not believe how professional the apprentices were – they spoke so well in front of other people.
“I thought to myself: ‘I want some of that action!’
“It’s an avenue worth pursuing.”
Jane Oakes, HR Manager of Green Lighting Limited, a company that takes on many apprentices, said: “I think the rise in apprenticeship vacancies is good.
“However, more education is needed in schools about apprenticeships and their value.
“They should not be seen as cheap labour or for people not clever or wealthy enough to go to college or university.”
Conor Ryan, Director of Communications of the think-tank Sutton Trust, warned politicians should not play a numbers game with apprenticeships.
He said: “Commitment to an extra 300,000 good quality apprenticeships in a decade’s time may be of more value than three million places over the next five years if too few are for young people.”