My RHF, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, has announced a range of steps in his “Children's Plan” to improve the quality of advice to young people. In addition, “World-Class Apprenticeships” contains measures specifically focused on apprenticeships, including plans to legislate to require schools to provide comprehensive information on apprenticeships to all their pupils.
As I explained in an earlier answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Chris McCafferty), the report of the apprenticeship review sets out a wide range of measures to expand apprenticeships. Small business will particularly benefit from our plans to extend wage subsidies to them so that they can more easily recruit apprentices.
The proportion of those who complete the Apprenticeship Framework has grown dramatically over the last three years. In 2004/05 the figure was 40 per cent.; in 2005/06 it was 53 per cent. and in 2006/07 it had risen to 63 per cent. This shows the ongoing improving status and quality of apprenticeships. The proportion who do not complete the apprenticeship is at an all-time low, and continues to fall.
“World-Class Apprenticeships” sets out a range of measures to encourage many more employers to expand their apprenticeship numbers and to join the programme. These include new financial incentives; a national matching service; and new flexibilities so that employers can bring their own qualifications into apprenticeship frameworks.