Siemens has announced that in September 2012 its intake of UK apprentices will be 160 – double the figure hired last year.

For the first time in decades the number of new UK apprentices at the company is now higher than that of graduates – graduate intake has remained steady at around 100 per year. Siemens is now recruiting similar levels of apprentices in the UK compared to Germany where the company has its global headquarters and an established, strong culture of apprenticeships.

On 24th May, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and secretary of state for business, Vince Cable, visited Siemens Gas Turbine Plant in Berlin, where they toured the factory and met Siemens’ apprentices.

Clegg commented, “This announcement is fantastic news. Apprenticeships give young people an invaluable opportunity to learn on the job and allow employers like Siemens to build a workforce with the practical skills their business needs.”

Cable added, “I warmly welcome the announcement. Siemens has an excellent record in vocational training and like us they recognise that apprenticeships can take talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the boardrooms of our top British companies.

“In the past, vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses which wasted their time and taxpayers’ money. This government is determined to improve the quality of vocational training and our trip to Germany will be used as a fact finding mission to look at what we can learn from our neighbours.

“Creating the right conditions to revive UK manufacturing is central to this government’s mission as it will help create long term growth that is balanced between sectors and across the country.”