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Prime Minister Unveils Apprenticeship Plans

21st August 2015 Paul Andrews

David Cameron today unveils plans to boost apprenticeships and transform training but will it be of any benefit to most family firms in the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron will today outline a package of radical plans to increase the number of quality apprenticeships across England – from nuclear engineers to tailors and butchers- and give businesses a say on how they are run and what they offer.

Employers across the country will be asked for their views on the introduction of an apprenticeship levy – set to be introduced in 2017 and designed to increase investment in training and apprenticeships.

Other steps outlined today that form part of the Government’s pledge to support 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, include a requirement to take a company’s apprenticeship offer into account when awarding large government contracts and publishing new ‘industry standards’ so that apprentices have the skills that companies need.  

Also today, the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced an ambition to boost apprenticeships across the road and rail industry – pledging 30,000 apprenticeship places in the sector during the lifetime of this Parliament, with help from a transport strategy led by Terry Morgan, Chairman of Crossrail.

This builds on the 2.3 million apprenticeships created under the last parliament to make sure that young people have the skills and expertise that employers demand.  

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The greatest asset any employer has is their workforce. And by investing in them, they are investing in the success and future of their business."

“As a One Nation government, we are committed to supporting three million quality apprenticeships over the next five years – to help strengthen our economy, deliver the skills that employers need and give millions more hardworking people financial security and a brighter future.”

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Skilled people are the lifeblood of a strong economy but for too long UK businesses have invested too little in developing their employees’ skills to meet the demands of a competitive, global market. The apprenticeship levy will ensure that businesses invest in skills and training, and will act as a much needed shot in the arm for the country’s productivity.” 

Charlie Mullins, Managing Director of family owned Pimlico Plumbers in London said: “The Government’s target of creating three million apprenticeships over a five year period is a wonderful thing, especially on the back of the two million that were started between 2010 and 2015. This is an achievement that might look good right now, but believe me in the decades to come seeds sown now will sprout powerful growth in the economy of the UK."

“Similarly a levy on larger firms that incentivises them to improve their records on training apprentices, in tandem with the new quality controls on what companies must provide in order to claim they are training real apprentices can only help meet this ambitious target." 

“I do however wonder how this will benefit the 99.9% of companies in the UK, which provide 59.1% of the private sector jobs, and generate in the area of £400 billion worth of GDP. This is why I will continue to campaign for a nationally funded apprenticeship scheme which guarantees an apprenticeship to any young person without a job or plan for further education. This I believe is the best way to solve our skills gap, and is surely better than paying young people to sit at home and watch TV?”   

As Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Director of Family Business United concludes, "Family businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and many already invest significantly in their staff, training and development programmes, with a good number like Pimlico Plumbers investing in great apprenticeship programmes too.  We support the call for a nationally funded apprenticeship scheme which supports family businesses of all sizes as they invest in the future of Britain and provide opportunities for youngsters to gain vital skills to help the economy move forward." 


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