Apprenticeships work and that is a fact. The numbers speak for themselves – it is fantastic to know that 90 per cent of people that do apprenticeships go on to further work or education. This really is something to shout about.

"£2.5 billion will be invested in apprenticeships by 2019-20."

We have also been making considerable progress towards Britain becoming an Apprentice and Skills Nation. Apprenticeship participation stands at nearly 900,000 – the highest figure on record. It is also an amazing achievement that there have been 780,000 apprenticeships started since May 2015. With this in mind, the role of NAW in raising the prestige of apprenticeships and transforming the nation’s skills base has never been more important.

"90% of people that do apprenticeships go on to further work or education."

Apprenticeships really are one of the greatest success stories of the decade – I am proud to say that through the new apprenticeship levy, £2.5 billion will be invested in apprenticeships by 2019-20, that is double the amount spent in 2010-11. With more money than ever, we will be helping people get into more and better quality training schemes. The levy will ensure a step-change in apprenticeships numbers and quality giving employers the highly skilled workforce they have been crying out for.

"Apprenticeships work and that is a fact."

We have come an extremely long way and the stats I have mentioned speak for themselves. April is going to be really significant for apprenticeships and our reforms. We will be seeing the apprenticeship levy come into force as well as the launch of the new and independently led Institute for Apprenticeships. The new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers will be in place and trailblazers will continue to work tirelessly to ensure there is a quality apprenticeship out there in every industry that is needed.

I hope that NAW 2017 inspires more employers and people to do an apprenticeship, helping us on our way to creating an Apprenticeships and Skills Nation.