Cable launches apprenticeships pledge

By staff

The government will fund an extra 75,000 apprenticeship places by 2015, Vince Cable will announce in a speech later today.

The business secretary will also announce a rail engineering academy and the replacement of the Train to Gain programme with one focused specifically on small- and medium-sized business.

Mr Cable will link the new strategy to the government’s plans to rely on strong private sector growth after the impact of the cuts announced in the spending review.

“If we are to achieve sustainable growth, nothing is more important than addressing current failings in skills training, and this strategy reflects this government’s determination to do both,” he will say.

Acknowledging that the cuts mean direct government assistance will be increasingly strained, the business secretary is expected to add: “We are not in a position to throw money at the problem, but even against the backdrop of reductions, resource will be found to expand the apprenticeship programme for adults and support more people undertaking an increasingly respected form of vocational training.”

Half a million public sector jobs are set to go in the public sector due to the spending review and the government has staked its prospects for recovery on rapid growth driven by small businesses.

Echoing that theme, Mr Cable will claim that simplifying the funding for further education and skills training would make the system better placed to drive such a recovery.

Skills minister John Hayes called the new proposals “one of the most important documents yet published by the coalition government”.