Following the publishing of new figures yesterday, which revealed a 96% increase in the number of apprenticeships available to young people in Westmorland and Lonsdale in 2011, Tim Farron has called on 2012 to be the Year of the Apprentice in the South Lakes.
This news comes as the Coalition Government has launched the National Apprenticeships Week, which will seek to build on last year's success with events in schools and businesses.
Commenting, Tim said: "This is a dramatic increase in the number of apprenticeships from just 370 in 2010 to an impressive 720 in 2011, which will make a huge difference to the lives of young people in our local area.
"Thanks to the work of local businesses, and other employers, with the support of the Government, more young people across the South Lakes than ever before now have the opportunity to benefit from a variety of apprenticeships that will help to provide them with the skills needed to get jobs and build up their careers.
"Our apprentices are putting businesses on stronger ground to be successful and create jobs and growth in our area, that's why we must now work even harder to ensure even better results to well and truly make 2012 the Year of the Apprentice."
Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable said:
"National Apprenticeships Week is the time to celebrate the countless achievements of learners and employers, and to call on more firms to hire an apprentice and enjoy the competitive advantage they can bring to a business.
"I am very proud of the fact that at a time of financial constraint this Coalition Government has prioritised investment in apprenticeships. This has led to the creation of record numbers of apprenticeships combined with tough new standards to drive up quality.
"Apprenticeships are at the centre of the Coalition's skills policy because we know that they work. Not only do they provide individuals with the skills they need for prosperous and rewarding careers, they also boost businesses' profits and drive growth in the wider economy.
"We are providing extra help to enable small employers to hire their first apprentices. We will also continue to develop new advanced and higher-level apprenticeships to deliver the world-class skills individuals and firms need to get ahead."
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