The skills gap in the current UK workforce could be bridged by the government’s apprenticeship initiative.

That is according to skills minister, Lord Young, who has suggested that apprenticeships are important to address the lack of skilled labour in the country and to provide people with "career opportunities".

Lord Young said that the scheme will have the dual purpose of giving people the skills they need to enter the job market, as well as providing employers with qualified staff.

Explaining the benefits of apprenticeships, Lord Young said: "Employees benefit from getting a real qualification and a transferable skill as well as earning while they learn. Employers get a skilled employee that understands the world of work."

He went on to explain that once the economy has recovered from the downturn, there will be a "huge demand for skilled workers".

The Learning and Skills Council conducted research which revealed that some 69 per cent of people believed apprenticeships benefitted their company.