Cameron hails apprenticeships plan
David Cameron is hailing plans by firms to create 16,000 new apprenticeships as he highlights the Conservatives' commitment to deliver three million new training places if they regain power in the General Election on May 7.
The Prime Minister - who is out on the campaign trail today with the Tory peer and star of the BBC's The Apprentice, Baroness Brady - said he wanted apprenticeships to be "level-pegging" with university degrees.
He is unveiling a series of announcements by firms to create new apprenticeships, with Morrisons training 9,000 over the next five years while Whitbread plans to hire 6,000 more by 2020.
National Grid is taking on 500 new apprentices and Dairy Crest will take 200 as well as opening a new training academy.
Mr Cameron, who is launching the Costa Coffee apprenticeship scheme, said: "We want apprenticeships to be level-pegging with a university degree giving millions more people the dignity of work and a regular pay packet.
"We've already created 2.2 million apprenticeships since 2010 but a future Conservative government is committed to opening up three million more high quality apprenticeships - to help strengthen our economy and communities and give millions more people financial security."
Lady Brady said apprenticeships were a "fantastic boost" for the long-term prospects of young people.
"Each apprenticeship is a chance for young people to master a trade, learn on the job and take home money in your pocket each week," she said.
"I remember that feeling of being 18, 19, 20 years old, hungry to get on and desperate for someone to give me an opportunity so I could prove myself. As soon as someone gives you a chance and believes in you - it's a moment that can transform your life."