The latest Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) statistics, published on June 28, show an evident rise in the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships in the UK. Provisional data shows that in the first nine months of the 2011/12 academic year 44,130 candidates started an apprenticeship in these areas compared to 48,970 starts in the entire 12 month 2010/11 academic year.

Ann Watson, Managing Director of specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, 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.”

Overall, the number of those taking part in apprenticeships in England has continued to increase. Government’s provisional data shows that the figure currently stands at 383,200 for the period between August 2011 and April 2012.

Skills Minister John Hayes said: “The growth in Apprenticeships is really welcome news. 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.

“As we look to rebalance our economy, it is particularly encouraging to see an increase in the number of apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector.”