Blackpool is a hot spot for apprentices

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Business mogul Lord Sugar is back on our screens seeking his next apprentice – but perhaps he should be looking in Blackpool.

The area boasts 940 people starting on genuine apprenticeship schemes in the nine months to April this year, according to the Department for Education.

Sir Alan Sugar

Sir Alan Sugar

And forget the brash, sometimes larger-than-life claims of Lord Sugar’s confident candidates – 700 people in Blackpool actually achieved an apprenticeship qualification over the same period.

Unlike Lord Sugar’s hopefuls, it seems the apprentices of Blackpool don’t necessarily have their sights set on conquering the business world.

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The most popular subjects chosen were health, public services and care.

The next most popular were business, administration and law, engineering and manufacturing.

Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton said apprenticeships could be a “passport into a range of exciting industries”, such as nuclear, food science, law, engineering, digital technology, nursing and planning.

The Government says it will be focusing on improving apprenticeships in the 65 most deprived local authorities over the next two years.

Those aged 25 and over made up 44 percent of all apprenticeships taken up in the nine months to April, while 29 per cent were aged 16-18 and 28 per cent were 19-24.

DfE figures show in Blackpool, 440 people began intermediate apprenticeships - the equivalent to GCSEs - last year, while 420 started advanced ones, the equivalent of A levels.

The remaining 70 were on apprenticeships, on a par with foundation degrees.

Anne Milton said: “We have a range of measures to help people from all backgrounds to take up an apprenticeship, and we give extra funding to providers training in most disadvantaged areas.”