APPRENTICESHIPS are helping to drive down youth unemployment figures in Gloucestershire, according to one county MP.
Richard Graham, for Gloucester, said figures which show a drop of about 11 per cent in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neets) bode well for the future.
In the city, the amount of people aged 16 to 24 in the Neet category fell last year to 780, from 875 the year before.
He said: "If you then correlate the growth in apprentices – there were 1,240 new starts in the city in 2012 – I think apprenticeships are making a real difference in bringing down youth unemployment, which is exactly as it should be.
"These figures are very encouraging. There's lots more to do, but it's a good step in the right direction."
In Cheltenham, meanwhile, it is hoped apprenticeships will have a similar effect.
Solicitors Rickerby's LLP, based in the town, has recently taken on three 18-year-olds.
Maryann Neudegg, head of human resources there, said: "Statistics regarding the 16–24 age bracket in Gloucestershire show that the number of Neets is set to increase.
"I felt it was the responsibility of the employers to look at their businesses to see how they could bring apprentices into their companies and we have successfully done this.
"I hope other businesses will follow our lead."