Apprenticeship figures in Cumbria show a growing diversity in the workplace according the the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cumbria LEP highlighted the figures during National Apprenticeship Week, which took place last week.

It said 10,000 people are currently apprentices in Cumbria, with the largest sectors being engineering and manufacturing technologies, business administration and law and health and social care.

Mike Smith OBE, LEP board member and chair of its People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group, said eight per cent of apprentices in Cumbria beginning a career in construction in 2018/19 were females, compared to five per cent nationally.

Females accounted for 14 per cent of those starting careers in engineering while men accounted for 12 per cent of those beginning careers in care.

The gender split of apprenticeship starts was 49 per cent female and 51 per cent male based on 4335 starts.

Mike said: “Apprentices bring new talent, diversity, innovation and fresh ideas to their employer’s business.

“Employers can tailor an apprenticeship to suit their needs and receive significant help and support from Cumbria’s network of high quality education and training providers, to develop the skills they require to support productivity and business growth.

“Cumbria LEP looks forward to continuing to support the apprenticeship programme in order to underpin the development of every sector of our economy by developing the future talent available across our county.”

The LEP said 16 to 18-year -old apprentices in Cumbria have higher achievement rates than anywhere else in the country, with the second highest achievement rates for all ages.

At the same time, twice as many 16 to 18-year-olds take up an apprenticeship in Cumbria compared to the average elsewhere in the country.

Progress onto a higher and degree level apprenticeships in Cumbria at age 18 is twice as high as nationally, following a 200 per cent increase in their uptake, with particular success in manufacturing technologies and business management.

Ninety-three per cent of apprentices continue into employment, compared to 89 per cent nationally, with Cumbria ranked second out of all 39 LEP areas.