By Claire West

Commenting on the huge number of applicants to BT’s apprentice scheme - 24,000 applicants for 220 places - Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said:

“The huge number of applicants to the BT apprenticeship scheme shows the shocking problem school leavers are facing in getting into the workplace.

“School leavers have been among those hit hardest by the economic crisis and a growing number are applying directly to employers because of cuts to college and university courses and places./i]

[i]“The government has already removed the Future Jobs Fund and the Connexions service is being decimated — cut in half in some areas.

“Young, talented people need investment in apprenticeships and vital services now more than ever, or we will see a lost generation joining the record unemployed at the dole queues.”