ROBIN Walker today pushed business secretary Vince Cable to give teenagers more chance to "earn while they learn".

Worcester's MP used a parliamentary debate to lobby the Liberal Democrat on traineeships created for under 19s.

During a business select committee hearing this morning, the Conservative called for more focus on offering apprenticeships to school and college leavers.

It comes after figures from Mr Cable's department showed how although the overall number of apprenticeships have rocketed in recent years, since 2011 the number of positions going to under 19s have fallen.

Mr Cable said making sure more apprenticeships go to younger people would be a key priority for the Government.

Mr Walker said: "I was pleased the business secretary confirmed his commitment to creating more of these for young people as well as those who are older.

"Apprenticeships have been a huge success story of the Coalition Government but I will keep up the pressure to make sure we deliver more."

Mr Walker also said despite lending to small businesses improving nationally, he was concerned about firms in Worcester that still struggle to borrow from the banks.

He called for the Government's impending 'business bank' to become a genuine solution for companies unable to get cash from traditional lenders.

“The evidence we heard from the BIS Department suggests that lending to small businesses is beginning to improve but there are still many firms in Worcester who tell me that they find it hard to borrow from the banks," he said.

"I want to ensure the new business bank helps to provide finance that will help small businesses to create jobs.

"Dr Cable and his officials confirmed that not only is that its intention, but also that there is direct funding available such as start-up loans which can help people starting up in business and funding specifically for small and medium enterprises that take on apprentices for the first time."

He also said there must be "no let up whatsoever" in the drive to increase jobs and skills.

The number of people getting apprenticeships surged 118 per cent across Worcestershire between 2011 and 2012, climbing to 5,700.

It followed your Worcester News 100 in 100 campaign, which called upon 100 companies to take on 100 eager apprentices and help boost young people’s lives.

In recent months small firms have said they would have taken on even more had the economy been better.