Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 2

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 5th February 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Skills) 5:30 pm, 5th February 2008

The Government share the sentiment behind the hon. Gentleman’s amendment. I think that we all agree that apprenticeships provide a high-quality work-based route to continue learning at 16 through which young people can properly engage with employers. Those young people, with the employer and alongside someone who is dedicated to continuing their learning and training, are getting a degree of mentorship, developing craft and skills, and learning important skills that employers talk about in relation to soft skills such as discipline, routine, dedication and commitment. Apprenticeships that work well also help young people to work alongside people who are much older than them. That is a particular advantage of apprenticeships working at their best.

The hon. Gentleman will know that, since 2007, the Government have sought to double the number of apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds from 75,000 to 150,000. I was pleased that he relied heavily on the apprenticeship review and that, notwithstanding his concerns about sector skills councils, to which I shall  return, the broad thrust of his comments was in support of the review, which was published on 28 January by my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills and for Children, Schools and Families. In the review, we restated our intention to put in place an apprenticeship entitlement for every young person who wants one by the time this legislation comes into effect.

In the end, the system must be based on employer demand and on employers coming forward, so we put in place the things that we all want to see further to incentivise employers to come forward so that we can meet that ambition. Today, fewer than one in 15 of 16 to 18-year-olds are in an apprenticeship. Our goal is that within the next 10 years, one in five young people can get an apprenticeship place. That is ambitious, but meeting that ambition is key to our productivity and our country’s success. Galvanising the system and getting employers to come forward to offer apprenticeships is the key to that.

Our apprenticeship trajectories are modelled on an analysis of learner demand that was carried out by the Learning and Skills Council. It projects that there will be another 90,000 apprenticeship places by 2013, which will be a 60 per cent. increase on the number of places that we have now. The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings will see when he reads the review that we have worked with our sector skills councils precisely to identify the sectors in which there are growth opportunities. For example, the sector skills councils in the creative and culture sector, the media and the creative industries have come forward to suggest that there are growth opportunities in the next period. That is particularly relevant in London, where we have the smallest proportion of apprenticeships available for young people.