§ Mr. Gorrie
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will take steps to enable young people above the age of 16 years to benefit from modern apprenticeships. 
§ Mr. Wicks
Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) are an important part of the new vocational framework for young people in England. Many more young people will benefit from MAs as a result of an entitlement we are introducing to a place for those who have the necessary aptitude, ability and enthusiasm for work-based training. As an aid to this, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor recently announced plans for an expansion of MA places in England, from 220,000 this year, to 320,000 by March 2004. In addition, both my Department and the Learning and Skills Council will continue to promote MAs, to ensure that Careers Companies and the new Connexions Service are able to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the opportunities MAs offer.