Businesses in Essex have excelled at creating jobs and apprenticeship opportunities over the last few years.

As the Conservative government has supported businesses by cutting taxes, reforming planning laws and reducing red tape, enterprises in Essex have stepped up and are investing in jobs and growth.

Already in the six months between August last year and January this year, there have been more than 7,000 apprenticeship starts in Essex, which is giving people, especially young people, a chance to learn and earn.

I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of businesses that have taken on apprentices.

A total of 89 per cent of employers report the enthusiasm and fresh perspective that apprentices bring helps make businesses more productive.

Businesses are also making big investments in training and skills programmes, including at Stansted Airport and at DP World London Gateway.

Smaller firms are also playing their part, with many keen to set up their own accredited training schemes. One of the great benefits of the emphasis business and the government is placing on apprenticeships is it is opening up new career opportunities.

It has been great to see, for example, young women taking on apprenticeships in engineering roles, a profession where they have traditionally been under-represented.

To encourage more apprenticeships, the government has launched the Get In Go Far initiative. More details about this initiative and how businesses can get involved can be found at getingofar.gov.uk.