The government has provided double the planned number of adult apprenticeships in the last year, statistics show.
Business Secretary Vince Cable hailed figures that reveal 103,000 additional apprenticeship starts over the 2010-11 financial year.
He said: "The growth in apprenticeships to over double the planned ambition, including sectors such as IT, advanced manufacturing and engineering, demonstrates our commitment to delivering the skills businesses need to grow and young people need to build productive careers.
"We're determined to do more to boost growth, rebalance the economy, extend opportunity and break down barriers between academic and vocational learning."
John Walker, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "It is good news that the government has delivered more apprenticeships, as youth unemployment is still a problem facing the economy.
"However, now is not the time to get complacent as a raft of new school leavers will be entering the jobs market soon.
"With only one in 10 respondents to an FSB survey saying they took on an apprentice in the last year, more needs to be done to help the smallest firms to take on an apprentice to further rebalance the economy."
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"This is great news and those recruiting apprentices will find them a great benefit to their companies in years to come, as they learn essential skills and become an asset to the companies they work for. Now we just need to improve the drop-out rate" – Karl Mason, North Yorkshire