Bradford can forge ahead with setting up an Apprenticeship Agency after receiving a £900,000 slice from a Government pot.

The announcement, made yesterday, revealed the city’s apprentice “hubs” and agencies will benefit from a share of £4.6 million to run a variety of initiatives by 2015.

Bradford Council declared last year it was seeking to launch an Apprenticeship Agency to boost employment opportunities in the district. The agency is one of the key initiatives under the Council’s ‘Get Bradford Working’ programme.

Councillor David Green, leader of Bradford Council, said: “This funding announcement means we can forge ahead with setting up the Apprenticeship Agency which will boost the skills and experience of the district’s workforce.

“It is an important step in improving the employment opportunities and ultimately the economic prospects of those currently out of work or in low-skilled jobs.”

The Council’s executive backed the initiative last summer. The Apprenticeship Agency would act as a recruitment agency to seek out organisations to employ apprentices on an agency basis.

The money was secured by the Leeds City Region Programme, and Bradford’s proportion of the funding is based on calculations taking into account the levels of local unemployment.

The region-wide proposals seek to generate 2,500 additional apprenticeships, mostly with small and medium enterprises and will help eight areas in total, including Kirklees.

Councillor Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “This is great news for Kirklees and will build on the valuable work already undertaken by the council and its partners in creating job opportunities through apprentices and enabling our young people to get the training and encouragement they need to lead successful lives.”

The Leeds City Region Partnership put forward a business case to boost apprenticeships because only 12.8 per cent of employers in the Leeds City Region employ apprentices. The business case emphasised that apprenticeships were a long-term foundation for sustainable youth employment.

Mr Green added: “If people are better skilled and better paid, this has a knock-on effect because their greater spending power benefits local shops and businesses.”