PENDLE MP Andrew Stephenson is calling for more local businesses to take on an apprentice after new research claimed there was a £2million boost to the local economy last year.

Research commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) said that every time a company in the North West hired a new apprentice, their bottom line had an average boost of nearly £2,000.

The number of apprentices has been increasing rapidly, but surveys show 60 per cent of small businesses are missing out because they do not know enough about how apprenticeships work. Many assume that they are difficult to administer and will involve a short-term cost, said the AAT.

Mr Stephenson said: “Last year, 1,150 people started an apprenticeship in Pendle. “This means that new apprentices alone provided a local boost of around £2.2 million in 2012/13.

“If they don’t have one already, every local business in Pendle should consider employing an apprentice.

“By giving young people a chance, they will also be boosting their bottom line.

“The benefit here of £2.2m has made a real difference to the local economy, and that’s just from apprentices who began last year.

“Apprenticeship numbers have now doubled, with the Government making it a key priority.

“It’s great news for each local apprentice, great for our businesses and great for growth.”