THE Chancellor of the Exchequer was given an insight into how Gloucestershire is leading the way in encouraging and developing apprenticeships when he visited Gloucester last week.
George Osborne met staff and young people at Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET) centre in Barnwood and was clearly impressed with what he saw.
The Chancellor was told that GET was set up and run by the county's engineering companies to provide youngsters with the skills that local industry needs.
Mr Osborne said the county's business had some "real success stories and a massive increase in apprenticeships up 78 per cent".
He described GET as one of the most impressive places he had been to throughout the UK.
"The training here is just outstanding. This is the future of Britain," he said.
The Chancellor spoke to trainees before moving onto Cheltenham to visit the offices of Gloucestershire Media, publisher of The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo.
Linsey Temple, chief executive of GET, said: "Having the Chancellor visit was a real boost for GET.
"Not only as recognition for the excellent work the staff here do, but also a major indication to the young people on programme about how much the government support and believe in apprenticeship programmes as a key contributor to the revival of the economy.
"Mr Osborne activity listened to the learners views on the apprenticeship programme and why they had chosen the apprenticeship route as an alternative to continuing in full time education.
"He also asked what more the Government could do to support businesses like GET.
"I gave a number of examples such as access to capital funding for smaller businesses; a review of the funding rates specifically for the engineering sector including the payment structures (this is particularly a problem for smaller employers wanting to take on an apprentice); and financial support for more Group Training Associations within the UK.
"The GTA model is attractive to Government as they are employer owned, sector focussed and proven to deliver high quality programmes with consistently above average success rates."
Later Mr Osborne praised the county's businesses.
"We have to back success stories, particularly in this part of the world where we have some of the country's and indeed some of the world's top high tech manufacturing businesses," he said.
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