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Lord Sugar demanded that ministers “show their commitment” to creating more apprenticeships for teenagers.

The host of BBC's The Apprentice warned that Britain's “proud history” of helping people learn a trade had been “neglected”.

His remarks came at a critical time for millions of school-leavers who are facing the highest unemployment rates for a generation and a shortage of university places.

Ministers have said they want to create 400,000 apprenticeships by 2020, including 35,000 over the next year. Lord Sugar, who fronted an advertising campaign to promote the Government's policy, welcomed the increase but stressed there was “a way to go” to make an apprenticeship viable for everyone who wants to do one. Writing in Report, the magazine of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, he said: “This country has had a proud history of apprenticeships, but they have been scandalously neglected in recent times & the Government needs to show its commitment".

“It has said it will ensure apprenticeships are a mainstream option for all 16 to 18-year-olds by 2013, with significant growth for older learners as well. Lord Sugar welcomed the increase in the number of apprenticeships to 225,0000 in recent years. But he stressed there was “a way to go” to make an apprenticeship viable for everyone who wants to do one.

NRC is committed to forward thinking and supporting apprentices.

We have taken a leaf out of Lord Sugar's book and recognise the value of having apprentices both to NRC and the local economy.

- Lee Montgomery NRC's apprentice mentor

NRC's apprentice mentor - Lee Montgomery said "We are leading the way (relatively speaking) as we currently have 6 apprentices on the books at the moment. I am proud to say that it is no coincidence that all management and Directors at NRC fulfilled apprenticeships and I know that this is a great start to anyone's career"