By Max Clarke

A further 10,000 highly-skilled apprenticeships are to be created with the help of a £25 million government fund, in a bid to close Britain’s growing skills gap.

The Higher Apprenticeships Fund will support the expansion of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent in companies, particularly SMEs, where there is unmet demand for the higher level skills that are necessary to create additional jobs and growth.

"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,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.

"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.”

"The Government's commitment to support advanced and higher apprenticeships... will assist all businesses both large and small," said the BAE Systems' Group MD Nigel Whitehead.

"BAE Systems welcomes t Apprenticeships make good business sense for young people and employers. The advanced training offered by higher apprenticeships will help the UK meet its skills requirements over the next decade."‬

The fund will build on support offered to business via the Growth and Innovation Fund and the Growth Review, which are designed to target Government support on firms and sectors which will benefit most from additional investment in skills training.

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