Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “The growth in apprenticeships to more than double the planned ambition, demonstrates our commitment to delivering the skills businesses need to grow and young people need to build productive careers. We’re determined to do more to boost growth, rebalance the economy, extend opportunity and break down barriers between academic and vocational learning. Our planned investment will deliver some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and we’ll continue to work with the business community to make it easier for more employers of all sizes to take on an apprentice and reap the benefits they bring.” Local Liberal Democrat, David Mead said that supporting the creation of apprenticeships is a key objective for Liberal Democrats. It featured in their 2010 election manifesto and was adopted in the Coalition programme for government in May 2010. It is important to improve people’s skills to help the country re-vitalise our manufacturing industry. We were therefore pleased to see that the Government has delivered more than 100,000 extra apprenticeships, twice as many as expected, in the last year. In the North West region, over 57,000 people first started apprenticeships last year. This was a 60 % increase over the previous 12 months.