Apprentices, training providers and employers gave presentations on apprentice programmes.
Lantra national director for England Madge Moore said: "Apprenticeships play a central role helping firms improve business productivity during the economic downturn."
Recent research by Lantra showed that 77 per cent of employers believe apprenticeships help make them more competitive.
John Earp, from Dorset County Council's Dorset Works Arboriculture Team, oversees 16-year-old apprentice Jack Pomeroy and said that the kind of training is vital in the current economic climate to teach people the skills they need to get on the job ladder.
- To read the apprentices' views see vox pop, p17.