A NORTH East training provider says it has seen an 80% rise in apprenticeships being offered by local businesses compared to last year.
Gateshead-based Access Training currently has 45 live apprenticeship vacancies, compared to 25 in October 2011. The firm also reports a record number of applicants applying for posts.
It said 246 applications have been received so far this month, which is a level of interest not seen by the company since mid-2010.
Managing director Malcolm Armstrong believes the increase in apprenticeships is partly due to the extension of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), which awards companies £1,500 for taking on a 16-24 year old apprentice.
“Employers are looking for cost-effective ways to develop their businesses and the grant has given us something concrete to offer these companies that are keen to grow,” he said.
“I believe our interest from learners is up mainly because young people are fearful of student debt so many are turning to apprenticeships as an alternative to sixth form or university. This is good news for employers because the calibre of apprentices is rising.
“The quality and quantity of some of our recent vacancies has also been attractive. If we have good employers offering good positions, this always helps.”
The AGE 16 to 24 grant is aimed at helping employers offer young people employment through the apprenticeship programme by providing wage grants to assist them.