Statistics released today show that the number of completed apprenticeships at food and drink businesses in England is at a record high.

Latest figures from Improve, the sister organisation of industry skills body The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, show a record 1,941 apprenticeships were successfully completed over the period from August 2012 to December 2013 – almost double the number over the same period in 2011/12. New apprenticeship starts in the sector also rose – up 3% from 3,640 to 3,750.

The statistics have been released  to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (March 3-7).

Justine Fosh, chief executive of both the Academy and Improve, commenting on the figures, said the food and drink industry had “firmly established” apprenticeships as an “attractive route” into the industry.

She added: “More advanced apprenticeships  have also become a constructive way of re-skilling older workers at a time when automation, technology and modern production methods are playing an ever-increasing role across all parts of the sector.”

The National Apprenticeship Service, which co-ordinates National Apprenticeship Week in England and Wales, estimates more than 900 apprenticeship awareness-raising events will take place between March 3 and 7, with businesses being encouraged to showcase the benefits to their firm as well as the career prospects of their apprentices.