An expert panel of business leaders has been formed to help the Government champion apprenticeships in all sectors of the economy, including construction.

The Apprenticeship Delivery Board will highlight how businesses of all sizes can benefit from taking on apprentices in a bid to boost apprentice numbers.

It will be headed by apprenticeship adviser Nathan Zahawi with support from David Meller, chairman of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

Representatives of some of the UK’s biggest businesses feature on the panel, including James Wates CBE, chairman of Wates Construction and chairman of CITB.

Panel members will work closely with employers in their sector to raise the number of available apprenticeships, as well as ensuring the training is of the highest quality.

They will also examine ways of increasing the number of trainees looking to learn vital skills on the job.

The advisory board was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron and Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

It was announced at a special reception at Downing Street, where some of the UK’s top businesses celebrated employing thousands of apprentices.

By 2020, the Government hopes to have created an additional three million apprenticeships.

As part of achieving this target, members of the new body will also use their industry knowledge and experience to identify challenges that may prevent firms taking on apprentices.

Other names on the panel include David Abraham, chief executive

 of Channel 4; Mike Thompson, head of apprenticeships at Barclays; and Alderman Andrew Parmley, of the City of London.

Speaking after the reception on Monday, Mr Zahawi said apprenticeships represent exciting opportunities for young people, while also helping to improve growth in the wider economy.

He said: “I’m proud that we’ve been able to put together such an exciting line up of top business leaders for the Apprenticeship Delivery Board.

“I look forward to working closely with them all, raising further awareness of the business benefits of apprenticeships and providing feedback on how to continually improve quality, as well as quantity.

“As ever more great British businesses get involved, and with the inclusion of higher and degree level apprenticeships, we can raise the status of apprenticeships while delivering 3 million starts by 2020; a target which provides us with an unmissable opportunity to change lives, boost skills and increase productivity in the UK economy.”