By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable has defended his decision to increase tuition fees in favour of preserving apprenticeships and skills schemes. Unemployment in the UK is rising and with tuition fees set to increase, skills training and apprenticeships are vital in ensuring that the financial sector remains successful.

The UK’s economy is dominated by financial services, finance and accounting, which contributes to 9 per cent of GDP and employs 2.2 million of the UK workforce. The preservation of apprenticeships and skills schemes is vital to providing youths with the training they need in an unstable economic climate. The number of 16-24 year olds on benefits increased by a massive 442 per cent in the past year. If this number continues to escalate then skills and apprenticeships will become increasingly vital to the support of economic growth.

Liz Field, the CEO at the Financial Services Skills Council, commented:

“Apprenticeships are a valuable route for people of all ages to learn skills and gain qualifications that enables them to progress in the sector. In order for UK Financial Services to thrive and flourish it is important for apprenticeships to be protected as an option for young people to choose to enable them to pursue a career.”

Field added, “Financial Services is strategically important to the UK economy as it competes in a global marketplace and it relies on talent and skills to remain competitive.”