All week we have been backing and employers, apprentices and supporters during this weeks National Apprenticeship Week from 9 to 13 March 2015. This has involved meetings with Egger and Rolls Royce, other employers, schools, and new successful SMEs like the Pudding Parlour in Hexham.
I have spent time promoting the wide range of local apprenticeships on offer and the positive impact that they have on businesses and young people.
Latest figures that show apprenticeship starts have more than doubled in Northumberland from 2,100 in 2010 to over 4000; in the Hexham constituency, 670 young people started an apprenticeship last year compared to just 320 a decade ago in 2005/6. In the wider North East the apprenticeship numbers are going from strength to strength.
Packages of financial support exist to support businesses to take on an apprentice to help provide traineeships or work experience for young people. These packages are worth over £1500 in grants, and the government have made it much easier to have an apprentice.
I am proud to have led the way by employing an apprentice throughout this parliament.