WEST WORCESTERSHIRE MP Harriett Baldwin has welcomed efforts to turn on the tap for talent with a leading apprenticeship programme.

The MP whose constituency includes Tenbury met with apprentices working with Severn Trent at an event in the House of Commons and repeated her support for the National Apprenticeship Week initiative.

Severn-Trent has taken on 61 new apprentices last year working across the Midlands in well-paid engineering roles.

Mrs Baldwin also chatted to Severn Trent chief executive Liv Garfield and discussed some of the recent challenges faced by the company during the sudden cold snap.

“I have always been a supporter of apprenticeship programmes and there are some really strong local employers across the Midlands who make the best use of apprenticeships to get access to the best talent,” said Mrs Baldwin.

“It was helpful to chat to Liv Garfield and hear how apprentices help her business and how it is using the apprenticeship levy to spend over a million pounds on developing local skilled workers.

“This work is helping to deliver more skilled engineers and I am happy to celebrate the efforts of the company.

“I also got a useful update from Severn Trent after the cold weather caused serious interruptions in water supplies and hope that those affected are now back connected and will be properly compensated.”

The Government is committed to having more apprentices in the workplace and want to have three million of them by 2020.

A special levy has been introduced that has to be paid by all employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million a year that is being used to fund apprenticeships.

Traditionally largely associated with trades such as plumbing, apprenticeships can now be taken across a wide range of sectors such as law, finance and other professional services.

Apprenticeships are open to both men and women and can be taken by older people looking for a change in career and so are not just restricted to the young.

There are also a wide range of different levels of apprenticeship starting from 12 month courses to graduate level apprentices.

Apprentices combine learning and earning as they work with more academic classroom based studies.

They are increasingly seen as an alternative to expensive university courses.