Document proposes statutory entitlement to on-the-job training for all qualified young people

A new bill designed to equip the country to meet the education and skills needs of the economy has been published.

The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill will provide the first complete overhaul of apprenticeship legislation for nearly 200 years.

The new legislation will put apprenticeships on a statutory basis and establish the entitlement to an apprenticeship place for every suitably qualified young person who wants one.

It also aims to guarantee a high quality of on-the-job training for both apprentices and employers.

The bill is designed to aid ministers' ambitions of one in five young people undertaking apprenticeships by 2020, building on the growing numbers starting an apprenticeship in the last decade - rising from just 65 000 in 1997 to a quarter of a million this year, with overall Government investment soon to top £1bn annually.

The legislation also gives employees the right to request further training during their working lives.

Skills secretary John Denham said: “This new bill will put in place new rights so that at whatever stage you are in life, you can continue to improve your skills and get training, to improve your career prospects.

“Enshrining apprenticeships in law and introducing a new right to request time to train, coupled with proposals to improve our schools will help deliver the skills in the economy we need when the upturn comes.”

Children, schools and families secretary Ed Balls said: “We need to equip the country to meet the economic and social needs now and in the long-term. It is vital we build a motivated, highly skilled workforce to take us through the current challenging economic times and build a secure, prosperous future.”