New apprenticeship scheme gets 2.3m boost to attract 250 people wanting professional services jobs

Apprenticeships are set to boost London's professional services industry after an innovative programme received 2.3 million in funding.

The London Professional Apprenticeship (LPA) scheme will offer 250 apprenticeships to attract outstanding youngsters from the capital into professional services jobs.

The Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is providing 1.4 million for the LPA scheme.

Worldwide professional services company PwC, which created the programme, will contribute 900,000.

Small businesses that join the LPA will be able to benefit from the scheme's apprentice matching service.

It will also offer a career-focused atmosphere for apprentices to learn together, while creating networks that will be used to their advantage throughout their employment.

The professional and business services (PBS) industry is expected to generate a net rise of more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

The sector will prioritise recruitment from a broad talent pool, the Government indicated. This was confirmed in the Professional and Business Services Industrial Strategy jointly announced by the Government and the PBS Sector Council last summer.

Business Secretary Vince Cable believes the innovative scheme will accelerate apprenticeship training in a vital sector.

He said the PBS industry is heavily reliant on the quality of its people and its future success will depend on recruiting a diverse workforce with a broad skills set.

Mr Cable added: "PwC has made good progress recruiting apprentices on its existing programme, and I hope many other firms, particularly small businesses, will join and make the LPA programme just as successful."

Sara Caplan, a partner at PwC, said the LPA is a fresh way for London to create the future generation of business people and the networks to back them in training and beyond.

She added: "It's specifically designed to open up career opportunities based on people's potential to learn and employers' drive to grow, and challenges traditional perceptions of who can access what opportunities."

The LPA is a new idea which shows the Government is working with recruiters to concentrate on employer-led answers to bridge skills gaps and grow the UK economy, say ministers.

Copyright Press Association 2013