WORCESTER'S MP has welcomed the news that apprenticeships in the city have now passed 6,000 since 2010.

Robin Walker said he had consistently championed the benefits of apprenticeships, saying it was "fantastic news" 6,040 apprenticeship had started in Worcester in the past seven years and almost 30,000 across Worcestershire as a whole in the same time period.

The government has a target of three million new apprenticeships nationwide by 2020, an increase on the 2.3 million achieved between 2010 and 2015.

More than 1,300 employers are developing apprenticeship standards in sectors from nuclear to fashion, digital, law, banking and transport, while more than 200 standards have been published, including more than 60 for Higher and Degree apprenticeships.

Ministers are also legislating to protect the term apprenticeship from misuse.

This year also saw the launch of a secure and sustainable long-term funding model for apprenticeships in the form of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Employers will be able to access funding equivalent to their levy payment via the Digital Apprenticeship Service. Employers committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get out more than they pay in, through a top-up to their digital account.

The government pays 100 per cent of training costs for employers with fewer than 50 employees who take on apprentices aged 16 to 18-years-old.

This also applies to smaller employers who take on 19 to 24-year-olds who were in care, or 19 to 24-year-olds with an education and health care plan.

Employers and training providers who take on 16 to 18-year-olds and 19 to 24-year-olds who were in care or who have an education and health care plan, receive £1,000 each from government.

There will be an opportunity to find out more about local apprenticeships opportunities at the Apprenticeship Show being held today.

The event will be held at Worcester Racecourse from 4pm to 7.30pm and is open to all parents and young people.

Mr Walker said: “Providing our young people with the best start to get on in life and have a rewarding career is an area close to my heart.

"Apprenticeships can give young people this opportunity to learn a valuable skill while earning at the same time, which is why I have consistently championed them throughout my time in Parliament.

"They can raise the productivity of the businesses they join and I have always been proud to support them.

“I want every young person leaving school to view an apprenticeship or going to university in equal merit. I am glad employers are now in control of creating new standards which is driving up the quality of apprenticeships.

"It has also been made easier for businesses to hire apprentices by abolishing employers’ National Insurance contributions for apprenticeships under 25.”

“I recently visited the new state-of-the-art training facility at Worcester Bosch – a company where the current and former managing directors both started out as apprentices and was pleased to have a number of positive discussions with young apprentices there about the high-quality technical training they were receiving, and how this will translate into a rewarding and secure career.

“I welcome the commitment to going further and delivering three million more apprenticeships by 2020 – I am pleased to report we are well on track to achieve that target both in Worcester and nationally.”