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Nick Clegg: Apprenticeships are vital to Great British business

To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week deputy prime minister Nick Clegg (pictured) has said apprenticeships are "at the heart" of the Governments drive to make British business prosper in the global market.

A report published today by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found that 3.8 million people will complete an apprenticeship in the next decade, contributing £3.4 billion to the UK economy a year in productivity gains by 2022.

The report, Productivity Matters: The Impact of Apprenticeships on the UK economy reveals that apprenticeships are boosting productivity by enabling businesses to grow their skills base.

The average apprentice increases business productivity by £214 per week, leading to increased profits, lower prices, better products and higher wages.

The report also forecasts that annual apprenticeships completions will soar 85% over the coming decade from 260,000 in 2012/13 to 480,000 by 2021/22.

According to the Cebr's predictions, the annual number of apprenticeship completions in the business, administration & law sector is forecast to rise from 74,000 in 2012/13 to 121,000 by 2021/22.

By 2021/22, it is predicted there will be 65,000 completions in the construction & planning sector, compared to 27,000 in 2012/13.

It is forecast that there will be 81,000 completions in the engineering & manufacturing sector by 2021/22, compared to 38,000 in 2012/13.

Clegg said: "Apprenticeships are at the heart of our drive to provide employers with people who have the skills needed for their businesses to prosper and compete, often in a global market.

"Apprentices are vital to Great British business – from mechanical engineering and business administration to dental nursing and physiotherapy.

"We are making it as simple and rewarding as possible to take on apprentices."

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Vince Cable, said: "This research confirms the economic importance of Apprenticeships and sends a clear message that they deliver for employers, individuals and the economy.

"Since 2010 we have had over a million people start an Apprenticeship in the UK. But I want to see more small and medium businesses reap the benefits of Apprenticeships, which is why we have introduced a £1,500 incentive for SMEs who take on a young person.

"I hope that during National Apprenticeship Week more employers up and down the country will look to increase their skillset and productivity by taking on an apprentice."

David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "I regularly speak to employers who tell me about the benefits that apprenticeships bring to their business.

"Apprentices not only increase productivity but also bring creativity and dynamism into the workplace; the very best examples of which are being showcased in this year's National Apprenticeship Week."