Hiring apprentices has provided a £1.5million boost to Witham’s economy, new research claims.

MP Priti Patel is calling on more businesses to take on apprentices after a study revealed the benefits involved.

Research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) states a company gets an average boost of £2,009 every time they hire an apprentice.

Last year, 750 people in Witham started apprenticeships - providing an overall boost of £1,507,000 to the town according to the research.

Ms Patel said: "I pay tribute to all those local businesses in Witham who are giving young people a chance and taking on apprentices.

“As well as providing new training and employment opportunities, firms that take on apprentices are boosting their bottom line.

“The number of apprentices has been increasing rapidly.

“Despite this, surveys show 60 per cent of small businesses are missing out because they don’t know enough about how apprenticeships work.

“Many assume that they are difficult to administer and will involve a short-term cost.”

The research has shown that non-traditional areas like accounting now make up the majority of apprenticeships.

AAT chief executive Jane Scott Paul said: “I am delighted that Priti Patel MP is encouraging more companies to employ an apprentice. “Far from being a cost, apprentices bring benefits straight away.

“It’s really important that employers know there are apprenticeships for all shapes and sizes, including those in non-traditional sectors like accounting and law.

“That’s how apprentices boosted UK firms by £1.8 billion last year.”