Young people and businesses in Britain boosted by apprenticeships as numbers rise dramatically over the last two years

Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular option for school leavers, offering them and their employers a number of benefits.

The opportunity to earn while you learn is an attractive one for young people, but it appears such vocational training is also having a big impact on their future careers.

Government research reveals that eight out of 10 apprentices feel their apprenticeship has bolstered their job prospects.

In addition, seven out of 10 employers claim that apprenticeships have improved their product or service quality, while a further eight out of 10 businesses say they would recommend them to friends or other employers.

Apprenticeship take-up has increased by more than 80% in the last two years, as it remains a popular choice with young people looking for an alternative to university.

"Despite the tough economic climate we have prioritised funding for apprenticeships," commented business secretary Vince Cable.

"Today's survey reinforces this, proving that apprenticeships boost the prospects for both young people and businesses. Building a skilled workforce, partly through apprenticeships, will give employers the skills they need to build a stronger economy throughout the UK."

Research published in April this year revealed that employers find apprentices 15% more employable than young people with other qualifications, including those with a degree to their name.

New data released last week, meanwhile, shows that 54% of young people in England would choose to do an apprenticeship if one were available.

"Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly attractive option for school leavers who want to forge a successful career by earning while they learn," said skills minister Matthew Hancock.

"Whether they want to be a pilot, an accountant or even a space engineer, I would urge teenagers receiving their exam results to consider how an apprenticeship could help them achieve their career goals.

"We want it to become the new norm that young people go either to University or into an apprenticeship."

Copyright Press Association 2013