Labour has sounded the alarm over figures showing apprenticeship places have dropped by 5,000 in London.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the “door was closing” on school leavers searching for high quality training.
According to an analysis by the Commons library, there were 5,030 fewer apprenticeship starts across London in the last academic year compared to 2012/13, when there were 45,080.
Mr Umunna hit out during a visit to Park High School in Stanmore with shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves and education spokesman Tristram Hunt — the first time the three rising stars have carried out a joint event in London.
The figures come amid claims that some schemes do not teach high-grade skills. Professor Alison Wolf, who led a government review on vocational education in 2011, has criticised “supermarket stackers who are called apprentices”.
Mr Umunna said: “Under this government we’ve seen doors closing on young people. The number of apprenticeships is falling and there are concerns on quality being undermined, while tuition fees have been trebled.”
But a Tory spokeswoman said: “Under David Cameron this government has done more to back apprenticeships than any before. We’ve seen record numbers start an apprenticeship — over two million more — since 2010.”