The Government is to launch an independent review into the future of apprenticeships to make sure they deliver the training and skills employers need.
Entrepreneur Doug Richard will lead the review, which will also aim to spell out what makes high quality apprenticeships.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "To build a prosperous economy we need a skilled workforce."
He continued: "The apprenticeship programme has been a real success, not only boosting chances for young people, but also helping businesses to address their skills gaps.
"However in the past vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses and our competitors have stolen a march.
"I have just come back from a fact-finding mission to Germany where two-thirds of young people take some form of apprenticeship by the time they are 25.
"To keep pace it is vital that we build on our initial success and continue to look at how apprenticeships can adapt to meet our future needs in the fast-evolving global economy."