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Manufacturing Employment

Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 13th January 2011.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South 10:30 am, 13th January 2011

What steps he is taking to increase employment levels in the manufacturing sector; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The jobs summit held earlier this week demonstrates the Government's commitment to a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We are committed to a huge increase in the number of apprenticeships leading to technician status; that will nurture the advanced skills we need in manufacturing, technology, and engineering, which are vital to strengthening our economy.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

Will the Minister have a discussion with his colleagues in the Ministry of Defence regarding any joint ventures with the French, so that British companies and British workers get a fare shake in those contracts?

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The hon. Gentleman was an engineer at Rolls-Royce, and I am sure that he agrees with engineering employers who say that growth is driven by innovation, investment and exports. That is why we are investing £200 million to support manufacturing and business development and £50 million to enhance the manufacturing advisory service, and are setting up a green investment bank. I will certainly take up the challenge that he offers me today, because he, like me, believes that manufacturing in Britain is excellent, deserves praise and has been talked down too long. This Government will give it the boost that it needs.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Conservative, Harlow

Will the Minister look into replicating around the country the Harlow college and Essex county council apprentice scheme for manufacturing and engineering? Ninety young people have qualified already, and 15 more will start in apprenticeship week this February.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Having anticipated that question, I have already had a meeting with my hon. Friend on just that subject, and I am pleased to be able to say that we will look very closely at the work being done at Harlow college, which is an exemplar in so many ways. We will look at how that can be spread across the whole country, providing more opportunity and apprenticeships, and building a Britain that works.

Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

A strong manufacturing sector needs a powerful digital economy at its core. Does the Minister agree that it would be good for jobs in the digital economy sector for it to be outside the control of the Business Secretary?

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

One of the things about coalition is that it brings together people from different starting points. [Interruption.] I have to say that this coalition has convinced me that the Business Secretary's commitment to jobs, apprenticeships, manufacturing and British business is unrivalled in his post, and is certainly considerably greater than that of his predecessors.