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FSB hails rise in apprenticeships

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed news of a large increase in the number of apprenticeships in UK businesses, particularly in sectors including advanced manufacturing and IT.

The Government has delivered an extra 103,000 apprenticeships over the last year, twice as many as expected, according the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has said.

But John Walker, chairman of the FSB, warned: "Now is not the time to get complacent as a raft of new school leavers will be entering the jobs market soon."

He added that only one in 10 respondents to a recent FSB survey said they took on an apprentice in the last year, showing that more needs to be done to help the smallest firms to take on an apprentice to further rebalance the economy.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “We’re determined to do more to…break down barriers between academic and vocational learning. Our planned investment will deliver some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and we’ll continue to work with the business community to make it easier for more employers of all sizes to take on an apprentice and reap the benefits they bring.”