Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. They increase the skill set of the workforce and make Wales a more attractive place with which to do business.
The skills developed by an apprentice are skills for life. This makes an apprenticeship programme as valued as a place at a top university, and I want people to be aware of this.
The programme continues to support young people, the group that has been worst hit by the recession. Apprenticeship programmes keep them engaged in education, employment and training and make sure we are maximising their opportunities for employment.
In November, the Welsh Government agreed an additional £20m for apprenticeships for 2013-14 and £20m for 2014-15.
More top news
Wintry showers to continue through the weekend and warnings of gales
Exclusive figures given to ITV Cymru Wales show a steep rise in the number of people seeking advice for steroid use.
Cold, breezy and generally cloudy at first with further wintry outbreaks on the hills