Microsoft takes on 1,000 London apprentices

London's Mayor Boris Johnson had announced that software giant Microsoft will take on 1,000 new apprentices over the next three years.

The bumbling blonde - who was accidentally elected to the post of Mayor of London after everyone in the nation's capital decided to register an ironic comedy protest vote at the same time - joined Limp Dem business secretary Vince Cable to make the announcement at the launch of National Apprenticeship Week.

Despite the glamorous sheen presented by TV's The Apprentice, where participants are promised a decent salary for being shouted at my East End barrow-boy-cum-flogger-of-cheap-electronic-tat Sir Alan Sugar, modern apprenticeships consist of working your fingers to the bone for next to nothing for three years for a company which is worth more than most countries, before being unceremoniously dumped back into the employment black hole that is Cameron's Britain.

Including the 300-odd teenagers who will be slaving away in Microsoft's code mines, Boris and his chums are aiming to get more than 20,000 school leavers into apprentice schemes over the next year.

"Unemployment is a social and personal disaster which eats away at self-confidence making people less employable," burbled Bozza. "It is a waste of talent, a waste of hope and is hugely expensive for society. Apprenticeships can make all the difference to an eager job seeker's prospects. Time in the right workplace, with the right boss, can be worth months of training, teaching discipline, boosting self-belief and setting young people up for life.

"I applaud the companies that have announced their commitment to apprenticeships. London's businesses need to redouble their efforts to save what could otherwise become a wasted generation. They can make the difference by creating these crucial openings and at the same time build a skilled workforce tailored to the needs of the business."

On average, every apprentice position offered receives 16 applications. London currently has 15 per cent of the UK's population but only five per cent of its apprentices, a shortfall the Mayor is keen to see reversed.

Virgin Media also said it would be taking on 90 apprentices.