Apprenticeships have risen in the first nine months of the 2011/12 academic year with 44,130 people starting apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing technologies.
According to EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications this compares with 48,970 starts in the entire 12 month 2010/11 academic year.
The construction, planning and built environment sector has also shown promising results, with 20,620 Apprenticeship starts in the first nine months of 2011/12, compared with 28,090 starts in the whole of 2010/11.
The rise in the number of Apprenticeships has coincided with news that the proportion of 16-to-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETs) has risen from 7.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
It has also been revealed that there is a rising number of students who are being left jobless after graduating from university – over 20,000 according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, said: “It has been well established that the manufacturing and engineering sector is facing skills shortages. Therefore, it is vitally important that young people are enthused about jobs in these industries.
“It is extremely encouraging to see that more opportunities are being provided, as shown in the latest Apprenticeship figures, and that employers are embracing this golden education pathway. We must now continue to push growth in this sector if we are to meet the demand for skilled workers.”
Skills minister John Hayes said: “The growth in Apprenticeships is really welcome news.
“The government has put apprenticeships at the heart of our skills policy because they equip people with the skills they need for a prosperous future and provide businesses with the expertise they need to grow.”