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Apprenticeship system 'struggling' to cope, report finds

Research has found 11 applicants for every apprenticeship vacancy. Credit: Jan Haas / DPA/PA Images

The apprenticeship system is "struggling" to cope with demand as figures suggest there are around 11 applicants for every vacancy, according to a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The research also found two in five apprentices starting since 2010 were over 25.

In total, there were 1.8 million applicants for 166,000 advertised vacancies last year, while 67% of higher level apprenticeships were given to people already employed.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which commissioned the research, said it indicated the system was being used to train older workers and young people were missing out.

At present, too many new apprenticeships are low skilled and taken by older people already in work with their employer.

Too few new apprentices are school-leavers trying to get their first job, and too few are getting the construction skills to build the homes and roads our local communities need.

With the greatest will, government alone cannot engage over two million employers from Whitehall.

Rather than spend more money on a struggling system, this research underlines the need for devolved training that enables partnerships of councils, schools, colleges and employers to both boost opportunities locally and to ensure youngsters get the skills, experience and advice to thrive.

– Cllr Peter Box, economy spokesman for the LGA

Banks 'working to restore trust' after Forex scandal

Antony Jenkins, chief executive at Barclays, apologised for the bank's role in the scandal.

The misconduct at the core of these investigations is wholly incompatible with Barclays' purpose and values and we deeply regret that it occurred.

I share the frustration of shareholders and colleagues that some individuals have once more brought our company and industry into disrepute.

– Barclays

RBS has also so far dismissed three staff and a further two are suspended.

The serious misconduct that lies at the heart of today's announcements has no place in the bank that I am building.

Pleading guilty for such wrongdoing is another stark reminder of how badly this bank lost its way and how important it is for us to regain trust.

– Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive

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RBS fined £430 million by US authorities in Forex scandal

RBS Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Royal Bank of Scotland i among five banks hit with fines over involvement in the rigging of global currency markets and has agreed to pay $669 million (£430 million) to US authorities.

It comes on top of a £399 million penalty last November, including £217 million by the FCA and $290 million (£186 million) by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Barclays fined record £284.4 million over Libor scandal

Barclays fined record £284.4 million over Libor scandal Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Barclays has agreed a total of £1.53 billion in fines with both US and UK authorities amid a raft of new settlements with banks over their involvement in the rigging of global currency markets.

The British banking giant's penalty includes a record £284.4 million to the UK's Financial Conduct Authority and the group pleaded guilty to a violation of anti-trust law in the US.

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Banks to pay more than £3.7bn in Forex fines

Authorities have fined five of the world's largest banks, including JPMorgan, Chase & Co and Citigroup inc, roughly $5.7 billion over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, the US Department of Justice said.

Four of them also agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges.

UBS AG will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates, the Justice Department said.

Barclays will pay $650 million in criminal penalties and Royal Bank of Scotland $395 million. Each will plead guilty to one felony count of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for U.S. dollars and euros in the foreign exchange spot market.

Barclays also will pay an additional $1.3 billion to settle with the New York state Department of Financial Services, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, authorities said.

As part of the New York banking regulator's agreement, Barclays will fire eight bank employees involved with rigging foreign exchange rates, the New York regulator said.

Marks & Spencer reports 6.1% rise in pre-tax profits

Marks & Spencer has reported a 6.1% rise in underlying annual pre-tax profits to £661.2 million.

The group has reported a rise in annual pre-tax profits. Credit: PA Wire

The rise in profits was driven by an "outstanding year" in food sales which M&S said had exceeded expectations in "a difficult market".

However, the group admitted general merchandise sales "did not meet expectations" despite claiming an improvement in style and quality.

Marc Bolland, the firm's chief executive, said: “We are transforming M&S into a stronger, more agile business – putting the right infrastructure, capabilities and talent in place to drive our strategic priorities.”

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