More support should be given to apprenticeships in the manufacturing sector to bring it into line with the service industries, it has been claimed.

Unite, the union, said a government-led industry strategy is needed to create a "positive counterbalance" between the service and manufacturing fields.

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, claimed that UK manufacturing should have a significant investment in apprenticeships and on-the-job training, noting than around one million jobs in the industry have been lost over the past ten years.

He commented: "It’s high time for the resurgence of British manufacturing but we need an industrial strategy from the government to support and nurture the UK’s manufacturing base."

The union also said that jobs in the industry require skilled workers and pointed to projects such as the new generation of nuclear power stations and the 2012 Olympics that offer opportunities for success.

Last week, North Devon College principal David Dodd told the North Devon Gazette that training and apprenticeships are ways for companies to protect themselves against the adverse economic climate.