Jobs: Witham

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at on 5 February 2024.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

What estimate he has made of the number of jobs provided by businesses in Witham constituency.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

As it is Apprenticeship Week, will the Secretary of State join me in thanking businesses in Witham for everything that they are doing to employ youngsters and put them on that apprenticeship pathway? Those businesses, however, are crying out for a labour market strategy that will help them to harness the skills and the upskilling that they need in certain sectors. Would the Secretary of State be prepared to advance that, and push it, across other Departments?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Chair, Treasury Committee, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the extraordinary work that she does locally to promote apprenticeships. I believe she was involved in a jobs fair on 24 January, hosted by Reed, which was highly successful. The employment rate in her constituency is 81%, well above the national average, which I put down almost entirely to the work that she is doing. She asked how we would proceed. We already have swaps, bootcamps and returnerships, but I am indeed looking at specific areas of the labour market, particularly in the context of migration changes, where we may be able to do more on a strategic basis.