Workers who start out as apprentices earn more money than other employees and stay with their original employer for longer, a study has found.

Apprentices go on to earn an average #23,400-a-year, almost #4,000 more than those who did not complete an apprenticeship, the study from the Learning and Skills Network said.

Among people aged 36 to 41 the difference was at its highest with former apprentices earning an average of just under #26,000 a year.

The report, based on labour market data and interviews with employers and workers, also said people were more likely to land up in a management role if they started out as apprentices.

Almost one in three (28 per cent) former apprentices now hold a management position and a further 15 per cent are in a supervisory role.

This compares with only one in four workers (25 per cent) who did not complete an apprenticeship now being managers and 11 per cent being supervisors.

According to the report, the greater chance of promotion hinges on the fact that organisations want to keep and promote people whose training they have invested in. Jill Lanning, director of research at LSN, said: "Apprentices make loyal employees who understand the standards of work that their organisation expects.

"Employers value their apprentices and give them plenty of opportunities to develop their skills.

"People who complete an apprenticeship can look forward to a lucrative career, good prospects of promotion and an ongoing commitment from their employer."

Apprenticeships also make economic sense for employers, according to the study, with employees more likely to stay with an organisation for longer.

More than three in five (61 per cent) of those who complete an apprenticeship stay with their employers for five years or more.

This contrasted with 46 per cent of workers without an apprenticeship under their belt staying with their employer for that length of time.

Stephen Gardner, director of apprenticeships at the Learning and Skills Council, which funds the LSN, welcomed the study.

He said: "This research strongly supports what the LSC has been saying for the past five years about the benefits of apprenticeships to both young people and their employers.

"Apprentices who complete their apprenticeship can go on to senior positions, whilst earning a good wage.

"Employers who offer apprenticeships can create a highly skilled and loyal workforce, maximising productivity and saving on expensive recruitment."