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Apprenticeships gets relaunched with £12m push

LONDON - Chancellor Gordon Brown launched a mammoth £12m integrated marketing blitz today as part of a government effort to radically reposition its Modern Apprenticeships for a new generation of young people.

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The initiative, from the Learning and Skills Council, is designed to reach more young people and get employers onboard.

Under the new name "Apprenticeships", the objectives of the campaign are to get employers to take another look at apprenticeships as a way of adding value to their business.

The campaign will include direct mail, advertising, outdoor, branding and web activity, and was unveiled today by the chancellor and the education and skills secretary Charles Clarke at Selfridge's department store in central London.

Direct marketing activity through Cramm Francis Woolf entails mailings being sent to 70,000 small- to medium-sized companies, including letters from Gordon Brown, who has written to the top 1,000 companies urging them to offer apprenticeships. TV advertising includes a direct response mechanism where companies can call a number to sign up to the scheme.

TV runs with the strapline "Apprenticeships... a great idea" and this is also supported by press, outdoor, branding and web activity.

Modern Apprenticeships were first launched 10 years ago and now under "Young Apprenticeships" enable people aged 14 and above to pursue vocational programmes on top of the core national curriculum, spending up to two days a week in the workplace.

Other major changes include a scrapping of the 25-year-old age limit, so that adults of all ages can become involved. Working through Sector Skills Councils, employers will have more input into the design and development of apprenticeships.

Nicky Brunker, director of marketing at the Learning and Skills Council, said: "The new 'Young Apprenticeships' is one of the biggest and exciting education developments in the last 10 years and is designed to ensure that employers are aware of the changes that have been made."

A recent survey by the Learning and Skills Council showed that 44% of organisations that reported skills shortages said they lost business as a result.

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