She said: "If the UK economy is to compete successfully against its
global competitors, it needs a highly-skilled workforce and while new
generation of apprentices can help address the skills shortages that are
currently causing many jobs to go unfilled, despite the fact that
jobseekers still outnumber vacancies by four to one."
Her comments come after the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
revealed that the schemes are becoming more popular with young people.
In the three months from August to October last year, applications for
apprenticeships increased by 43 per cent. Over the same period,
vacancies also rose by 24 per cent, reports onrec.com.
Female applicants also increased by more than half since 2012 and
around 216,000 applications were made by females to apprenticeships
roles during the aforementioned three month period.
Alex Curling, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said
that only a small number of employers are keen to recruit jobseekers who
haven't had a job before. He noted that apprenticeships are important
because they provide young people with much-needed experience of the
industry they want to work in.