29 September 2009 | Allie Anderson
The UK government will use its purchasing power to help create 20,000 apprenticeships over the next three years.
Business minister Pat McFadden, chairman of Labour's National Policy Forum, made the pledge in a speech at the Labour party conference this week.
He said the government was committed to providing opportunities for young people by encouraging businesses to maintain apprenticeship schemes.
"Government spends billions every year on goods and services. It must be right that we use this purchasing power to support the young people of this country," McFadden said.
It follows prime minister Gordon Brown's demand earlier this year that public sector buyers make it a contractual obligation for suppliers to provide places for apprentices and skills training (news, 8 January 2009).
The 20,000 placements will contribute to the party's overall ambition to create 250,000 apprenticeships at the start of every year from 2020.