City apprenticeships lag below average

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Sheffield offers only three apprenticeships per 1,000 people of working age, a new regional study has shown.

The level of apprenticeships in Sheffield lags behind Newcastle and Leeds - but is ahead of cities including Manchester and central London.

At 3.13, Sheffield’s figure is slightly below the average for England of 3.14.

Think tank Demos, which released the figures, said increasing the number of apprentices in the city and across England would boost the country’s gross domestic product by some £4 billion.

Demos’ chief economist Jonathan Todd, who wrote the ‘Up to the Job’ report, said: “The UK economy is currently facing a twin crisis of severe youth unemployment and a shocking productivity gap.

“Both could be solved in one fell swoop by boosting apprenticeships. Britain is losing the global race and letting down its young people by not doing more to skill up.”

The report also revealed that demand is far outstripping supply, with 54 per cent of workers interested in having an apprenticeship, but just 6.6 per cent who actually have one.