Plan To Increase Apprenticeships
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02 Sep 2011
I am supporting a plan to sharply increase the number of high-skilled apprenticeships in the UK. Under this plan, unveiled by the Shadow Business Secretary last week, any company wanting to provide goods or services to the public sector should be required to have an apprenticeship scheme before they can win a contract.
The Government has dropped the guarantee of an apprenticeship place to young people who want one and has failed to expand apprenticeship places for school and college leavers. However this jobs-for-contracts scheme would increase the number of apprenticeships by thousands and give immediate help to many of the one million unemployed under-25s.
The Government spends £220 billion a year on goods and services from the private sector. From construction to business support services, the Government is the top single contractor in the UK. This means that it has a unique tool at its disposal to get young people into work.
With one in five young people not working, they need every chance to improve the skills required to get good jobs. This simple idea – creating apprenticeship places through public procurement – would provide immediate help to alleviate this problem and give much needed opportunities.