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Business leaders call for apprenticeship boost

Business leaders are calling on the Government to encourage businesses to hire more apprentices ahead of National Apprenticeship Week.

With youth unemployment still high at 917,000, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is campaigning to encourage firms to increase the supply of apprenticeships.

The BCC is urging the Chancellor George Osborne to use the Spring Budget to announce:

  • A two-year extension to the Apprenticeships Grant for Employers scheme 
  • A £1,000 time-limited payment to firms that employ a 16-to-24 year-old in 2014.

Nora Senior, president of the BCC, said:

"Many businesses recognise the unique contribution that younger workers can make to their business. Apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to learn a new skill, and give businesses the opportunity to teach them a trade that is specific to their business."

Running from 3-7 March 2014, the National Apprenticeship Week is a Government initiative designed to:

  • Increase awareness, demand and understanding of apprenticeships
  • Promote apprenticeship progression routes
  • Highlight apprenticeship talent, skills and successes.

Ayla Uzunhasan, an apprentice at the BCC, said:

"Being able to learn on the job and gain valuable work experience will stand me in good stead for my future career, and makes me feel confident about my prospects.

"More businesses need to take a chance and hire their first apprentice, and see for themselves that apprenticeships can deliver real benefits not just to young people starting out in their working lives, but also to their business's success."