Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Apprenticeships - a better future.

Some news to cheer you up: despite all the challenges of modern society, in many crucial areas we are making progress.

Between 2005 and 2008, a staggering 90% of all jobs created in this country went to foreign workers. In the past 12 months, 87% of all new jobs have been taken by indigenous Brits. What a transformation! It is encouraging to be reminded (as the late and great Bill Shankly used to say) if you do the right things you usually get the right results.

Which brings me onto my main subject: apprenticeships. It has long been recognised that university is not right for everyone and that what we need are many more apprenticeships. But in these tough times, this does not happen by accident – you have to make it happen. In the past 4 years the government has been funding the creation of new apprenticeships the length and breadth of the country. In 2012/13 the total budget to support new apprenticeships was £1.4 billion. As a result of this, over 510,200 apprenticeships were started in that academic year, an 82% increase on the number of apprentices in 2009/10.

In the autumn statement last year the government allocated another £40 million to fund another 20,000 new places for the next two years. The target is 2 million apprenticeships in this Parliament.

This is one reason why employment is falling, including youth unemployment. The statistics suggest that a vast proportion of those who are taken on as apprenticeships either stay on with the same business or move to another job within the same industry – in other words their training remains relevant.  Very few of them fall onto the dole. Each apprentice receives a nationally recognised qualification which will help them with a future career.
Very often these hidden success stories get overlooked or missed in all the talk of austerity and gloom. But this story is not really about statistics, it is about hope. It is about giving young people at 16, or 18, who are just starting out in life the relevant skills to fulfil their potential. Gone are the old days of leaving school on a Friday and starting your job on the Monday knowing that you would stay in that line of work all of your life.

Today, we all have to be prepared to be mobile and flexible.

This massive investment in apprenticeships is helping to equip the next generation for that challenge.

posted by Gary @ 09:54