By Doireann Ronayne
Peter Mandelson announced 35,000 new apprenticeships today as he shifted the focus from adult education to practical skills-based training.
"We need engineers to lay the cables to expand access to high-speed internet, skilled people to build the electric vehicles of the future, and technicians to develop the medicines that will save lives," Lord Mandelson said.
The new apprenticeships come at a cost. Thousands of courses in schools, colleges and universities will be culled in order to meet the training bill.
At the age of 19, each adult without basic GCSE qualifications will receive £5,000 worth of credits to spend on returning to education.
A new "traffic light" system will rate each university course in an effort to expose courses with low employability and force colleges to respond to market needs.
The move will also see the expansion of university technical colleges for 14-19 year olds.
Colleges will be forced to expand the provision of courses in green technologies and biosciences where there is a clear market demand for trained technicians.
With UK firms continuing to cut down on staff and Lloyd's set to shed 5,000 employees, it is hoped that this new measure will create sustainable jobs.
"There is a strong feeling that they [apprenticeships] were old-fashioned. Well they are not, they are back and being expanded," Lord Mandelson said.