Apprentice Aon
Matthew Hancock MP, minister for skills and enterprise and Sir Bobby Charlton talk to Conor McCabe, an Aon apprentice Aon

Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and the UK minister for skills Matthew Hancock have launched the insurance industry's first ever sector-wide apprenticeship programme.

The scheme, a response to the government's Insurance Growth Action Plan, brings together the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) as well as partners from across the insurance and risk management industry.

The industry has committed to double the number of apprentices in insurance by the year 2017 and this is the first time the sector has come together in this way.

"This programme is the first of its kind for the risk management and insurance industry in the UK so we're pleased to have played such a key part in it," said Dominic Christian, chief executive of Aon UK.

He added: "The UK is the heart of the global insurance industry and at Aon we're committed to empowering young people from all backgrounds with the training needed to ensure this important industry continues to play a pivotal role in the UK economy."

Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, said the programme demonstrates how apprenticeships have an important role to play in every sector of the economy, including ones which might not traditionally have employed apprentices.

"Apprenticeships provide the opportunity for thousands of young people to earn while they learn; gaining a valuable qualification and experience of work in an industry," Hancock added.

The announcement comes at the start of this year's National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from the 3 to 7 March 2014.