MORE students are securing apprenticeships in Warrington than ever before, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

Latest figures from The House of Commons Library show more than 700,000 people across England got an apprenticeship in 2018/2019, with 1,700 of those being in Warrington.

The DfE also revealed 20,000 people started an apprenticeship in Warrington since 2010, helped by the town's University Technical College.

Since the opening of engineering specialist college, UTC Warrington, in September 2016, the number of young people entering apprenticeships in that sector has risen to become the third most popular industry to enter in the area.

Andy Carter, MP for Warrington South, said: "So many employers have told me how valuable apprenticeships are for recruiting new entrants.

"The real winners are those entering the jobs market with the opportunity to learn and earn with a great employer.

"UTC Warrington play a crucial role in linking employers and students and I’ve seen for myself the way lessons are tailored to make them relevant for future careers while providing a great all round experience."

The success of the UTC programme has seen more students entering higher and degree level apprenticeships.

In 2019, the percentage of students leaving the UTC to enter these career opportunities was more than six times the national average.

Employers in Warrington and the north west are even turning to the UTC to get the first pick of future recruits, such as NSAN, Sellafield Ltd and Wood plc.

Lee Barber, principal of the UTC, says that having employers regularly approaching the college to recruit students shows the programme is having a positive impact on companies.

He added: "In the summer last year, I had several prominent STEM employers contact me and my colleagues at the UTC asking to meet with our students to offer them places on their degree apprenticeship programmes.

"They do so because they recognise the importance of our offer to young people – access to high-status businesses, alongside a great technical education.

"Our employer partners have the advantage of securing some of the best engineers, civil engineers and cyber specialists in the area."