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Coventry and Warwickshire business experts mull apprenticeship changes

Proposed changes to apprenticeships in the UK have been welcomed by business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire, but they have warned that businesses must not be “bogged down” with additional red tape.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that a new type of ‘high-quality’ apprenticeship would be rolled out in the UK in order to offer young people “the best apprenticeships in the world”.

The changes are designed to slash youth unemployment and make apprenticeships a more appealing option for youngsters and businesses alike. Apprenticeships will now last at least a year and apprentices will also be subject to more rigorous academic assessments.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has said that the news is positive but that “the devil will be in the detail.”

Chief executive, Louise Bennett, told The Coventry Telegraph: “Businesses do need to have a great say in how apprenticeships work and it is a positive step that the Government is looking at changes very seriously. But the devil will be very much in the detail and we know from experience that for smaller businesses, especially, they will not want to suddenly be bogged down in the bureaucracy of administering a new Government scheme."

“That must certainly be taken into account before the final proposals are announced,” Ms Bennett added.

Businesses across Warwickshire are currently being encouraged to take on young apprentices by Warwickshire County Council as part of its ‘Going for Growth’ initiative, which aims to boost businesses and the regional economy.

Deputy council leader, Councillor Alan Cockburn, said: “The benefits to the business and the apprentice can be enormous and it tackles two key issues of getting our economy growing and youth unemployment.”