National Apprenticeship week kicked off this week as Liverpool’s youth unemployment rate worsens.

The event usually sees conventions staged across the country, linking apprentices with employers.

But due to Covid-19, this year’s networking marathon is online.

Figures published last year by the department of education showed a 48% decrease in new apprenticeship jobs nationally due to the pandemic.

Jonathan Jones, the director of education for Liverpool, said: “We’ve got to start seeing apprenticeships for the value they really have.

“There’s an immense value that apprenticeships have as an alternative to further education.”

Liverpool’s youth unemployment rate is above the national average, with 8% of 16-24 year olds out of work.

In the Walton area, one in five 16-24 years olds are now receiving universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance.

Liverpool also has some of the lowest earning youngsters in the UK.

Average wages prior to the pandemic were just £13,500 per year.

Mr Jones added: “There are apprenticeships out there, and there are going to be more being generated in the coming months with the injection of support from government.”

The government has offered a £2,000 payment to any businesses that take on an apprentice until March 31.

Liverpool City Council has also reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with schools to help students post-16.

In July last year, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak also announced a ‘plans for jobs’ package.

“The plans for job announcement, focusing on skills and young people and creating jobs through investment in shovel ready, green projects is welcomed,” said Mr Jones.

“However, there is still some distance to be travelled and significant endeavours for all stakeholders until these projects can be realised in the Liverpool city region.”

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