An innovative method of encouraging businesses to commit to taking on new apprentices has been developed.

The Pledge-o-meter is an online tool with which firms can keep a public record of the number of apprenticeships they aim to create.

It will stay live from now until the end of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 14 to 18 March, and also allowing businesses to show their commitment to providing traineeships. 

Pledges to recruit some 23,000 apprentices were made during last year’s National Apprenticeship Week. This was an increase on commitments to create 20,000 apprenticeship places the year before.

It is now hoped that 2016 will see similar levels of success, and firms in all sectors are being encouraged to take part.

In the short time the tool has been online, pledges have been made to hire more than 300 apprentices and trainees - and the figure is constantly rising.

Under the theme of “rising to the top”, National Apprenticeship Week will this year aim to showcase the benefits that vocational training can bring to businesses of all sizes.

There will be a big focus on opportunities available, from traineeships to higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.

In a bid to raise awareness of these schemes, businesses, schools, colleges and training organisations will be holding special events up and down the country.

These will be collected together in an online map, allowing everyone to find out where and when they are happening.

A Government spokesperson said: “Last year businesses pledged 23,000 apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week, an increase from 20,000 the previous year. This year we want to encourage even more businesses to share their pledges using our online Pledge-o-meter.”