Apprenticeships are jobs, and availability is determined by employers offering such opportunities. Our ambition is to reach 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020, and to support the growth of apprenticeships across different sectors and regions.
Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the Central Training Group’s Central Hairdressing Academy in Southend on its support of apprenticeships and its excellent results, and will he reflect on the view that trainers feel that a lot of pressure is put on children to stay on in the sixth form who might benefit from taking an apprenticeship?
My hon. Friend is exactly right. I congratulate the hairdressing academy on its support of apprenticeships. We now have 900,000 apprentices—the record highest number ever—and we have 784,000 starts. We are building the apprenticeship nation, and giving those young people a ladder of opportunity.