The winner of the BBC programme The Apprentice has thrown his support behind vocational training and announced that he plans to start his own apprenticeship scheme.

Joseph Valente, who started out as an apprentice himself before launching his own plumbing business in Peterborough, has called for a boost to on-the-job training to help disengaged young people.

After beating off 17 other contestants to win the show, the 26-year-old said he would now aim to do everything he could to support apprenticeships.

“Apprenticeships are going to be the backbone of this country, and off the back of this journey I’m going to make sure I go out and promote as much as possible how effective apprenticeships are,” he said.

Valente, who was expelled from school at 15 for being disruptive, said that he wanted to start a vocational training scheme to help people with backgrounds like his own.

He said: “I plan to start an apprenticeship programme within our business where we recruit employees from situations like from where I've come from.

“If you're forcing 14, 15-year-old people to do a lesson that they're never going to learn and they constantly play up every single time - rather than keep pushing them into the same direction, why not find an alternative and see what else they can shine at?”

Following a successful pitch to industry insiders and investors, he won £250,000 worth of funding, as well a 50/50 business partnership with Lord Sugar.

Praising the winner, Lord Sugar said: “Joseph is a great example of what's possible. He turned his life around and decided he was going to go to work and here he is today, a well-deserved winner of The Apprentice and I look forward to him being my business partner. I hope it inspires a lot of people to see what is possible in this world.”