For thousands of young adults, apprenticeships are a pathway to the future, giving valued skills and a good job. For businesses, they provide a key to unlocking talent and commercial growth. With Gordon Brown wanting to see one in five young people on apprenticeships within 10 years, they are the cornerstone of the Government's skills strategy, enabling the UK to compete in the global skills race. Over the past decade, the number of apprenticeship places in the UK has risen from 75,000 to nearly 240,000 with plans to increase places to 500,000 by 2020. In the South West alone there are currently more than 42,000 learners on Apprenticeship programmes offered by more than 13,000 companies across the region.In recognition of the ongoing impact of apprentices and their role in the future of the economy, a week is being devoted to celebrate their success. Apprenticeship Week (February 25-29) aims to encourage more employers to offer places by highlighting their importance to business, both through building careers for young people and increasing skills levels in the economy. For more information about apprenticeships and Apprenticeship Week, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk. Alternatively call the Skills Campaign helpline on 020 7413 3400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.