§ Mr. Sanders
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement about the future of the modern apprenticeship scheme. 
§ Dr. Howells
We have no doubt that the training of young people in the workplace to meet the needs of employment has a vital and increasing role to play in sustaining competitiveness to 2000 and beyond. Modern apprenticeships are a key component of this and are making a vital contribution to raising skills. Evaluation studies have consistently shown that Modern apprenticeships are highly popular, of high quality, and meeting the expectations of both employers and young people.
We want to sustain and build on this success and intend to develop modern apprenticeships in every sector where there is a demand. There are currently 70 sector frameworks approved with more expected in the next 12 months. Since modern apprenticeships began, over 100,000 young people have started training. There is every sign that employers' demand for Modern Apprentices will continue to grow and we and Training and Enterprise Councils will work together on how best to respond to that demand.