Call for more firms to take on apprentices and help young people struggling to find vocational education placements

More businesses are needed to take on apprentices as there are nowhere near enough placement opportunities available for young people in Britain, according to a new report.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of apprenticeships in England, has revealed that on average there are 11 applications for every apprenticeship available and the employer-led Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) is calling for more firms to make placements available and make in-roads into the shortage.

The FSP's aim is to support the development of a skilled workforce in Britain's financial and accountancy industries. It believes that vocational training has been taken on board by the financial services sector but it should be doing more to improve its use of apprenticeships. As a result it has introduced six new frameworks in a range of different financial disciplines and it has also created a range of higher apprenticeships that are more suited to employers' needs with the help of the Higher Apprenticeship Fund.

The FSP's CEO, Liz Field, says the organisation is seeing plenty of positivity among young people about following vocational routes into employment and its efforts to raise awareness of the kind of new opportunities on offer in sectors like the financial industry not traditionally associated with apprenticeships are beginning to bear fruit.

She said there is now even more emphasis on the need for businesses to offer opportunities to meet the increasing demand for apprenticeships, meaning more places are needed for young people but the quality of the training they are offered must remain high.

Ms Field said the industry has seen growth in higher apprenticeships, offering more young people who don't want to go to university an alternative means of finding work. She thinks more organisations will soon recognise the advantages that come with apprenticeships, such as the ability to "mould" bright and enthusiastic youngsters into the kind of workers businesses need to help them grow.

Copyright Press Association 2013