There is strong evidence that Modern Apprenticeships have increased training opportunities, according to a new study published this week.
Researchers at the University of Warwick Institute for Employment Research, estimated 500 firms surveyed had created 1,600 training places in the first four months of the scheme, begun in September 1995.
The study, the first detailed evaluation of the scheme, was based on interviews with staff from 500 companies. The report said: "As Modern Apprenticeships have been introduced into many sectors which already have well-developed training systems, it would be unrealistic to expect a major increase in the volume of training.
"Nonetheless, there is strong evidence of additional training places being created as a result of the Modern Apprenticeship initiative."
Around 16 per cent of companies surveyed had created places under the scheme - and researchers found evidence of the scheme extending to parts of industry with no history of apprenticeships.
The study also argues that Modern Apprenticeships have had benefits for training quality, increasing the take-up of National Vocational Qualifications and improving the structure of training schemes.
Most common were Modern Apprenticeships in engineering, which accounted for 38 per cent of all trainees on the scheme, with business services, retail and hospitality and construction also popular areas.
And nearly 60 per cent of the Modern Apprentices were employed in small businesses, a key target area for training policy.