Under new government guidelines apprentices must be taken on for at least a year.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the tougher standards, which come into effect from August, are part of an effort to drive standards and improve training and workplace learning.

Under the changes, firms taking on apprentices aged between 16 and 18 must ensure they last for at least a year.

For those aged 19 and over, apprenticeships must be between one to four years, unless some prior learning or attainment has been recorded.

Skills minister John Hayes said: “The majority of apprenticeships are the gold standard in vocational training. They boost individuals’ life chances and build the skills that drive growth.”

Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular – there was a rise in the number of apprenticeship starts last year and the government hopes to get half a million people onto one this year.

They are also a great way to use promotional products. You could use printed pens and branded USBs at trade fairs to get young people interested in your company.

It's worth it too – according to research by City of Bristol College, consumers prefer companies that recruit young people.

A study by the uni found 81 per cent of people were keen to buy products from a company that supports young people by employing an apprentice.

Posted by Robin McCrink