A LEADING politician came to a Kidlington training centre to promote apprenticeships and urge more businesses to take them on.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander visited the bricklaying and carpentry apprentice firm ACE Training on Thursday.

He told apprentices and staff at the centre: “Society should value those with apprenticeships as much as those who have degrees.”

Apprenticeships are a key part of Oxfordshire’s £55m City Deal which was signed last month.

The deal, which is an agreement between local councils and the Government, aims to deliver 500 new apprenticeships with more than 60 per cent in hi-tech new jobs in the county.

Mr Alexander said apprentices had an important part to play in the economy’s growth.

The Liberal Democrat said: “I would like every business who could use an apprentice to take one up because it is good for the business but also for the country too.”

The training centre in the Station Field Industrial Estate takes on nearly 100 students at any time.

Carpentry tutor Keith Smith said the Government needed to raise awareness about the funding available to firms wanting to take on an apprentice.