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Government sets out long-term plans on apprenticeships

More money will be given to fund apprenticeships in 2015/16, chancellor George Osborne has announced.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will see its budget cut by 6 per cent in the final year of this parliament – lower than the 8 to 10 per cent cuts seen by most other departments.

Business secretary Vince Cable secured £2.5bn of capital funding, a year-on-year increase of 9 per cent.

BIS has also agreed to efficiency savings of £50m by 2015/16.

Mr Osborne told parliament that the government intends to “put more into apprenticeships”.

“More money for apprenticeships is great news. We are huge supporters of offering opportunities to apprentices”

Julie White, D-Drill

According to the chancellor’s spending round 2013, the government has delivered more than 1m apprenticeship starts in this parliament.

The funding settlement will maintain current spending on apprenticeships for those aged 19 or above, and extend the government’s traineeship programme to 19-24 year olds.

In reaction to the announcement, D-Drill managing director Julie White said: “More money for apprenticeships is great news.

“We are huge supporters of offering opportunities to apprentices and it is a key element in ensuring the long-term future of many businesses in the construction sector.”

Awarding organisation for the engineering, manufacturing, building services sectors EAL also welcomed the chancellor’s commitment to new free schools, studio schools and UTCs.

EAL managing director Ann Watson said: “The Government is re-emphasising its desire to ensure that education is equipped to meet the needs of industry.

“EAL is dedicated to helping dovetail industry and education. We therefore welcome the Government’s commitments, such as the announcement that the traineeships programme will be extended to 19-24 year olds, which will help support young people entering into industry.

“It is imperative for the future of our economy that the system delivers the right people with the right skills to the appropriate employers when and where they are needed.”

PwC engineering and construction partner Chris Temple commented: “In the last 12 months alone we have seen the UK construction sector lose 53,000 UK jobs. This is amid the context of a workforce that, on the whole, is working for longer and retiring later.

“If we then factor in the reality of a growing skills shortage in the construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors, then we must also see additional support for businesses in the forms of apprenticeship and training schemes.”

Earlier this week prime minister David Cameron launched a new engineering apprenticeship scheme to create 100,000 new engineering technicians by 2018.

Mr Osborne also announced that the government will fund 20 new university technical colleges in 2015/16 through the Department for Education.

UTCs are academies for 14-19 year olds that provide technical courses and work-related learning combined with academic studies.

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