The Welsh Labour Government has been accused of having a lax attitude about creating apprenticeships after figures have shown a rapid decline across key sectors.
The most recent figures available, which have been analysed by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, show that from 2006 to 2011 the amount of work-based learning programmes in a number of important sectors saw a large decrease.
Some examples of sectors that saw declines in apprenticeships are:
80% decrease in transportation based apprenticeships
65% decrease in agricultural based apprenticeships
58% decrease in manufacturing based apprenticeships
46% decrease in retailing and customer based apprenticeships
18% decrease in engineering based apprenticeships
15% decrease in construction based apprenticeships
Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Business Minister, said:
"These figures are a damning indictment of Labour's failure to provide apprenticeships in Wales.
"Unemployment in Wales is consistently higher than in England, especially amongst our young people. Welsh Labour is failing to equip many of our young people with the skills needed to get themselves onto the employment ladder.
"Labour can't be trusted to build a stronger economy. They showed that when they crashed our economy, and they are showing it now with their lack of ideas about how to get it moving again.
"As the economy starts to improve and more people are finding work, we need to be looking at the next step. That will be giving people the skills that will allow them to build a career and become part of a high-skill, high-value economy in Wales for the future. High skill economies are more resilient to economic challenges because employers can't easily move work overseas to find cheaper labour if the going gets tough.
"Jobs and economic growth remain a priority for the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Apprenticeships must play a key part in healing our economy. That is why Vince Cable has so far created over a million apprenticeships - a record amount. We need that same determination here in Wales."