Cameron announces £6million higher apprenticeship fund

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a new round of government funding to support thousands of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent, a move it says will help deliver the world class skills firms need to drive growth.

From today, businesses and training providers can bid for a share of £6million from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund, which will support the development of thousands of new higher apprenticeships in sectors including aerospace, energy and renewable technologies. "By making apprenticeships a gold standard option for ambitious young people, we are sending a message that technical excellence is as highly valued as academic prowess," said Cameron. "By focusing investment where it is most needed to deliver sustainable growth and offering real ownership of vocational training to employers, we are equipping businesses with the skills they need to rebalance our economy and distribute opportunity more widely." Cameron also announced that from this week, small firms will be offered an incentive of £1,500 to hire their first young apprentices. This is expected to support up to 40,000 new apprenticeships over the next year. Skills Minister John Hayes said: "Our mission is to put practical training on a level playing field with academic study, creating a highly skilled, creative workforce that can take on the best in the world."