By Marcus Leach

The Prime Minister has announced details of radical plans for an apprenticeship programme that will see £25 million support up to 10,000 advanced and higher apprenticeships in industries including manufacturing, IT and engineering.

The scheme will promote the development of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent in companies where there is unmet demand for the higher level skills that are crucial for job creation and growth.

It follows the Governments pledge of committing additional investment to apprenticeships totalling £180m that will fund a total of 360,000 apprenticeships in this year alone.

The scheme will be called 'The Higher Apprenticeships Fund' and is open to bids from companies and industry representatives from today.

"I am determined that this government should be the most pro-business there has been, with one purpose and one goal: creating jobs and growth," Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

"It is therefore crucial that we build up the skills in this country that our businesses need and that will fuel long term growth. That is why despite some difficult decisions on spending we are increasing the number of apprenticeships to record levels.

"We are investing in apprenticeships because we know they work - they are good for people who want to get ahead, good for business and good for the country."

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