NICK Harvey MP met Ilfracombe businesses and their apprentices at the Landmark Theatre to promote the North Devon Apprenticeships Work campaign at the start of National Apprenticeship Week.
Individual activities during the week will lead up to the campaign's main event at the Apprentice Showcase at the Barnstaple Hotel on March 13.
Mr Harvey said: "This is the fourth year that the Northern Devon Employment and Skills Board has hosted the Apprenticeship Showcase.
"I'm very pleased to support it and see for myself the continued growth of apprenticeships in North Devon, providing an important career path for young people and boosting the local economy.
"Small businesses and manufacturers are at the heart of North Devon's economic recovery and it's been brilliant to see them take on apprentices of all ages over the past few years."
"With support from the Government – led by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable – and funding and increased variety available, there has never been a better time for small businesses that are recruiting to consider offering an apprenticeship.
"We must now build on this success and keep momentum up. It's great to see local agencies, training providers and employers all coming together to support apprenticeships during this year's National Apprenticeship Week.
"I would urge North Devon businesses to drop in to the Apprenticeship Showcase during the course of the day. There will be much local expertise on hand to provide impartial advice on getting started with apprenticeships."
The businesses attending the launch event represented a range of industries, including Wizard Brewery, which employs two brewing apprentices; internet hosting company Flint Hosts, which employs two marketing apprentices; and Robins Garage, which employs an apprentice mechanic.
The Apprenticeships Showcase is on March 13 at the Barnstaple Hotel.
For details visit www.ndap prenticeships.co.uk.