The government recently announced that employers would soon have more freedom when developing their apprenticeship schemes.

In an effort to address skills shortages in their sectors, businesses will be able to devise their own qualifications and standards for apprenticeships. This move will give employers more power in tailoring such programmes to business needs.

The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS) made the announcement as an official response to 2012’s Richard Review that focused on the need for improvement in the UK’s apprenticeship programmes.

Industry standards will remain central to every apprenticeship. However, each one will have a defined outcome inclusive of a substantial amount of new learning that can lead to a strong foundation for a career in the respective sector.

Starting in August 2014, all apprentices will also be working toward a Level 2 qualification in both English and maths through functional skills or GCSEs, if they have not previously achieved such standards.

"Most employers say that apprentices improve productivity. So it's vital that apprenticeships are tailored around what employers want, allowing them to design their own qualifications and choose their own training provider, rather than getting a one-size-fits-all programme that's bad for apprentices and bad for employers,” explains Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Traditionally, apprenticeships have had a focus on construction and engineering, but these new allowances will provide new routes into sectors such as finance, business administration, human resources and marketing.