Commenting on the Government's announcement today, that apprenticeship schemes are to be expanded and the welfare system reformed, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"It is vital that the Government tackles the problems businesses face when trying to find young people with the right attitude and skills for work. The UK skills shortage is not a new issue and we need business led initiatives to help reduce the growing gap.

"Whilst we welcome proposals to expand apprenticeships and to provide support to those businesses who take young people on, the schemes will only succeed if they are rigorous, of a high standard and work for both young apprentice and the employer.

"Apprenticeship expansion does not go far enough however. It is an imperative that the government ensures those currently out of work receive the skills that they need, and that the benefit system is reformed to incentivise people into work. The Government has promised private sector led solutions in the past, but now is the time to deliver."Tim Hutchings, Chief Executive, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry has used Apprenticeships to employ young people with tremendous success. The scheme has enabled us to increase our resources whilst giving two young people the opportunity to develop a career. I regard it as in investment not just in the future of the young people concerned but also in the Chamber itself". For further information contact the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry on 01707 398400