By Max Clarke

Business Secretary Vince Cable today pledged additional funding for apprenticeships in order to encourage more companies to get involved in offering on-the-job training and to provide essential skills for the 'unskilled youth generation'.

Total funding for apprenticeships is now set to reach £1.4 Billion by 2011/2, creating some 100,000 extra apprenticeships.

The UK200Group of independent accountancy and lawyer firms has commented on today's announcement.

Paul Short, partner, Lambert Chapman:

“The availability of funding influenced me in deciding to take on another trainee in August last year. If the funding is still available we are likely to take on an extra trainee this year as well. We might well do so anyway but the funding does help.

“Training is expensive in terms of the time required from our staff who do the training and mentoring, so the financial support for the first year or so is a real help. I suspect our clients would take a similar line.”