Walker welcomes increase in apprenticeship starts and quality

Robin Walker has today expressed his delight at new figures showing that 940 new apprenticeships were started in Worcester over the last year – exactly double the figure recorded in the last year of the Labour Government.

Figures show an 11% increase for apprenticeships in the Engineering and Manufacturing industry as well as a 13% increase in businesses, administration and law.

In total 4,760 new apprenticeships have been started in Worcester since 2010 compared with 1,830 in the previous five years under the Labour government. Across the West Midlands as a whole those figures rise to 290,840 and 125,920 respectively.

The Worcester MP, who has championed apprenticeships since his time on the Business, Innovation & Skills Select Committee, was praised by the Prime Minister back in July for his long-term plan for the county to raise its apprenticeship participation numbers from the 10,000 achieved in 2014 to 15,000 by 2020.

Across England more than 2.4 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010. And the Conservatives have committed to go even further over the next five years and deliver 3 million more by 2020. This is being funded by an apprenticeships levy on large employers, who will have control over funding to ensure it is giving young people the skills they will need to succeed.

Having previously stressed the importance of driving up the quality of apprenticeships at the same time as expanding the quantity, the Worcester MP was delighted at a reported 23% increase on last year in Advanced Level apprenticeships, as well as a rise in degree level apprenticeships.

Robin, who has a track record of speaking up for small businesses who take on apprentices, today visited local first aid training provider Cognet who have recently taken on their first apprentice.

Following the announcement of the figures, Robin said:

“I am delighted that the county is on course to fulfil the target I spoke about earlier this year. Following Labour’s poor record on apprenticeships in Worcester numbers have gone from strength to strength and I am happy to have been able to play my part in that.

What these figures show is that we’re not just seeing growth in terms of raw numbers, but a growth in higher level apprenticeships. What really excites me about this in Worcester is the quality of opportunities as well as the people taking them. I have met with many businesses that see apprentices as crucial in building a high quality, well-paid workforce and as the first step of a successful career, and I believe it is vital that we keep up this focus on quality even as we drive up the numbers.”

 

Notes to Editors

More information on Robin’s visit to Cognet can be found here:

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-visits-award-winning-local-business-ahead-of-small-business-saturday/