By Daniel Hunter

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has announced a new scheme to place apprentices in small and medium companies quoted on AIM, London Stock Exchange’s growth market for ambitious small and medium businesses.

Speaking at the London Stock Exchange Group’s event last night (17 June 2015) to celebrate AIM’s 20th anniversary, he praised the scheme which he said will:

bring together innovative new companies that are the future of British business, and the hardworking young apprentices who are the future of the British workforce.

The London Stock Exchange Group Foundation has committed an initial £20,000 to underwrite the cost of administering the scheme, with additional funds raised at the event last night. The scheme will be run by the educational charity City Gateway. More than 850 companies from across the country are quoted on AIM, and the scheme will work to highlight the opportunities they offer to young people.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

World class apprenticeships are essential to support our employers and give hope and opportunity to young people. We are committed to 3 million new apprenticeship starts in this Parliament, and AIM’s Apprenticeship scheme is exactly the kind of project that will help make that vision a reality.

Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group, said:

As we celebrate 20 years of AIM providing capital to companies to fund their growth, we are delighted to launch this new SME Apprenticeship Scheme in partnership with City Gateway. SMEs are a key driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth in the UK. Matching the UK’s most dynamic growth companies with talented young people seeking life- changing opportunities is a win-win. We have worked with City Gateway to provide apprentices with careers in the City of London and this new scheme builds on that success. The government’s focus on prioritising the creation of more apprenticeships is key to giving young people a great future and increasing opportunity for all‎, and we are delighted to be involved.

Eddie Stride, CEO, City Gateway, said:

We are very excited by the potential of apprenticeship creation by SMEs, to positively impact the level of youth employment in London and the UK. Just as SME growth is critical for a diverse and healthy economy, so is the opportunity apprenticeships offer unemployed young people, enabling them to build careers and become active citizens in our society and economy.

The announcement follows news on 14 June 2015 that the term ‘apprenticeship’ will be protected in law, strengthening their reputation, help working people and ensuring apprenticeships are recognised as a career path equal to university education.