More than 850 growing businesses have signed up to hire apprentices, business secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
The deal will see apprentices placed in companies quoted on Aim, London Stock Exchange’s growth market for ambitious small and medium businesses.
Speaking at an event last night, hosted by the London Stock Exchange Group, Mr Javid said the scheme would “bring together innovative new companies that are the future of British business, and the hard-working young apprentices who are the future of the British workforce”.
The London Stock Exchange Group Foundation has committed an initial £20,000 towards the scheme, with additional funds raised at the event last night. The programme will be run by the educational charity City Gateway.
“World-class apprenticeships are essential to support our employers and give hope and opportunity to young people,” Mr Javid said. “We are committed to 3 million new apprenticeship starts in this Parliament, and Aim’s apprenticeship scheme is exactly the kind of project that will help make that vision a reality.”
Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, said: “Matching the UK’s most dynamic growth companies with talented young people seeking life-changing opportunities is a win-win. We have worked with City Gateway to provide apprentices with careers in the City of London and this new scheme builds on that success.”
Earlier this week, skills minister Nick Boles announced that schools, hospitals and prisons will be set targets for recruiting apprentices as part of the government’s drive to create 3 million apprenticeships.
The push to expand the apprenticeship programme has come in for criticism, however. In a comment piece for TES, David Allison, managing director of apprenticeships provider GetMyFirstJob, writes that the target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 "must not become a target that is viewed by government and its agencies as an objective that must be hit at any cost".
And at a lobby of Parliament yesterday, trade unions and sector bodies warned that the growth of the programme should not be at the expense of other forms of adult education.