27,000 apprentices hired in North East

New figures reveal that 26,700 apprentices have been taken on in the North East since August.

They are among 374,200 apprenticeships created nationwide over the last 11 months.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Small, medium and large employers in the North East are playing a crucial role in creating a modern and competitive workforce that boosts the country’s productivity and prosperity.

“I want to work with as many of these businesses as possible to ensure they continue to shape the future of apprenticeships so that we can reach our target of three million by 2020.”

More than 22,000 higher apprenticeships have been created across the country since August 2013, exceeding Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s target of 20,000 starts.

Accenture is one of several hundred companies employing higher apprentices.

Bob Paton, its managing director for the North East, said: “Accenture is fully supportive of higher level apprenticeships.

“We were one of the first technology employers to hire 100 apprentices working towards a Level Four BTec diploma and foundation degree qualification as part of a three-year technology apprenticeship programme.

“We will add another 40 apprentices to our programme in Newcastle and London in 2015.

“Our apprentice recruits bring a wealth of talent and enthusiasm to Accenture, and we are very pleased with how our programme continues to grow.”

The statistics also show that the Government’s efforts to increase the quality of apprenticeships helped drive employer demand higher than previously forecast, with more than 2.3 million apprenticeships having been created across the country in the last parliament.

Mr Boles has vowed that public bodies — including schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces — will be set clear targets to employ apprentices to play their part in creating three million apprenticeships.