Britain’s most famous apprentice hirer, Sir Alan Sugar, has backed the government’s campaign to get more young people into apprenticeships.

The entrepreneur said the plans to introduce more apprenticeships through a new bill being moved through Parliament would help businesses in the UK thrive despite the onset of the recession.

Speaking at an event organised to coincide with Apprenticeships Week, the television star said: "Success is all about finding the right people to make your business grow – especially in these challenging times."

He added: "This seminar is a fantastic opportunity to pass on recruitment advice and help other employers understand the real value of apprentices."

The training and development of young people through apprenticeships is a key plank of the government’s reform of the education system and its efforts to ensure more people leaving formal education are prepared for the world of work.

Education secretary Ed Balls said: "Better-educated and skilled young people are vital to the future economic prosperity of this country."

Mr Balls has also announced efforts to amend the apprenticeships bill to clarify the role of local authorities in providing services to young offenders.

Mr Balls wants to provide young offenders with the opportunity to train so that they can go straight into employment once serving their time.