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Firms 'turning to apprenticeships' to plug skills gaps

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Job prospects for young people are improving as firms try to fill skills gaps, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests.

Research by the CIPD found a jump in the number of firms planning to hire more apprentices and school-leavers.

A survey of more than 1,000 companies found that half were taking measures to boost the skills of their workforce in response to recruitment difficulties.

A third were looking to take on more apprentices, the survey indicated.

Gerwyn Davies, labour market analyst for the CIPD, told Today: "The underlying factor is that the jobs market is very strong, that's forcing more employers to look at a wider range of applicants."

He added that young people had fared worse than other age groups over the past decade, so there was an element of catch-up, but also that employers wanted to address their future skills needs.

In a statement, he said: "After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter."

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