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Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 24 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the number of apprenticeships, with particular reference to apprenticeships within the automotive industry. (279355)

This Department and the Department for Children, Schools and Families currently fund Apprenticeships for adults and young people in a number of occupations in the automotive industry in England. Apprenticeships will play a key role in our response to the current economic downturn. Earlier in the year my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a £140 million package to provide an extra 35,000 Apprenticeship places over the coming year in both the public and private sectors to help boost the country’s competitiveness.

Last month we announced that businesses across the country with a proven track record of delivering Apprenticeships would share £11 million to create 3,000 new places by employing apprentices over and above the number they already employ. This will help these businesses support smaller companies in their supply chains. Companies benefiting from this funding include: Scania; Daf Trucks; Ford; BMW; Mercedes Benz; and Jaguar Land Rover.

Looking to the future, we have set ambitious targets for the growth of the Apprenticeships programme. Apprenticeships provisions are being taken forward as part of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, including provisions to ensure that an Apprenticeship place is available for all suitably qualified young people by 2013.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeships were awarded to individuals subsequently discovered to be illegal immigrants in the last year for which figures are available. (280081)

All apprentices must be entitled to work in the UK in order to take up an apprenticeship and, as with any employment, it is the employer’s responsibility to check all prospective employees’ entitlement to work in the UK, or they risk breaking the law.

Neither this Department nor the UK Border Agency collect information of this nature, therefore no figures are available.