Apprenticeships: Travel Costs

Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 15th September 2015.

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Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall 11:30 am, 15th September 2015

What steps his Department is taking to help apprentices with the cost of travelling to work in rural areas.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprenticeships are paid jobs with quality training, and availability is determined by employers. There is no central publicly funded support towards travel costs, but some local authorities run schemes that help apprentices with such costs. Apprentices who were previously unemployed may be able to benefit from a travel discount card operated by Jobcentre Plus.

Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall

It has been brought to my attention that many young apprentices struggle with their first car insurance premium. Will the Secretary of State consider bringing in special insurance premiums for apprenticeships?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I am pleased that my hon. Friend has raised that important point as the cost of car insurance is an issue for many young people across the country. Many insurance companies already offer ways to reduce the cost of insurance for young drivers, for example by installing driver monitoring devices, and I would welcome other approaches by insurance companies to reduce that cost. My hon. Friend may have some ideas in that regard, and I would be happy to meet him to discuss them.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Does the Minister realise that many young people in the rural part of my constituency have difficulty getting to the fine Kirklees further education college in Huddersfield? I beg him to take notice of Professor Alison Wolf’s clarion call that if we put all our money into apprenticeships and neglect our FE colleges we will be on the road to ruin and will never sort out the productivity challenges of our country.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I listen carefully to what Professor Alison Wolf says. The hon. Gentleman points out the pressures faced by the FE system, and he will know that as the quantity and quality of apprenticeships increase—for example, with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy—that will help to support our college system.