Document proposes statutory entitlement to apprenticeships for all qualified young people

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

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, establish the entitlement to an apprenticeship place for every suitably qualified young person who wants one and will ensure a good quality apprenticeship for apprentices and employers alike.

It is designed to aid ministers' ambitions of one in five young people undertaking apprenticeships by 2020.

The new legislation will also give employees the right to request 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."

In yesterday's prime minister's question time, shadow skills secretary David Willetts accused the government of failing to invest in the skills necessary to bring Britain out of the recession.