North East businesses hit out after loss of training fund despite thousands of apprenticeships

Business leaders have hit out at plans to axe a vital training fund – even as new figures show the benefits of investing in apprentices.

Business secretary Vince Cable boasted that the Government has fulfilled its commitment to starting two million apprenticeships since the last election.

And in the North East, there have been 143,800 apprenticeship starts since May 2010.

But now, despite the region making up 7.2% of the country’s overall apprentice intake, businesses have criticised the Government’s proposal to divert money away from training providers and give businesses direct control of the funding of their own apprenticeships.

They warned it could lead to a dip in the number of firms offering schemes – especially among especially small and medium enterprises – taking the region right back to square one.

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