Provisional data for the full 2010/11 academic year shows that UK apprenticeship starts increased by over 50% to 442,700, with increases across all age groups.
Steve Brine said: "This is great news for both businesses and young people. The record rise in apprenticeship numbers, particularly in the Advanced 'A' level equivalent qualifications shows the Government's commitment to helping employers train the skilled workers they need to build a stronger economy and sustainable growth."
The Government is looking to reverse years of neglect by building a skills training system that values and rewards practical excellence, enabling many thousands more young Britons find their way to successful and productive careers.
Steve continued: "To build a truly sustainable economy we must have regard for practical and technical accomplishments, so neglected in the ephemeral growth of the boom years, at long last recognizing the role they play in fueling the economy and nourishing the common good."
Skills Minister John Hayes said: "This Government is putting practical learning at the centre of our national life, restoring the purposeful pride that builds successful careers, drives prosperity and forges strong communities.
"But I am determined to do more, by stripping away bureaucracy for small firms, continuing to drive up standards and working with firms to create even more apprenticeship opportunities in coming years. And to help young people who currently lack basic skills make the grade for an apprenticeship, our Access to Apprenticeships programme will provide 10,000 work experience and training opportunities every year."
Pictured; Steve pays a visit to New Career Skills, in Chandler's Ford, which retrains people looking to take a different path
Find out more about the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills at www.bis.gov.uk.
Visit New Career Skills at www.newcareerskills.co.uk.