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Clause 2

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

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

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. In the evidence sessions, the Committee heard a lot from organisations such as the Prince’s Trust and Barnardo’s that indicated that there was a group of young people who would not be ready to begin an apprenticeship. The hon. Gentleman has also talked about the quality, brand and integrity of apprenticeships. I hope that he will welcome in the review the Government’s intention to define clearly what an apprenticeship is and is not.

We also said in the review that there is a place for those young people who are on that journey towards an apprenticeship for whom a pre-apprenticeship or, indeed, a programme-led apprenticeship, might be appropriate. At some point, they will get to take up an apprenticeship. We also clearly say in the review the minimum qualification that will be required to begin an apprenticeship. I hope that that addresses the point that the hon. Gentleman made, which he has also made in the past.

In galvanising the system to meet that 2030 ambition, which we believe that the legislation will do, it is important that we do not just reach out to new sectors through our sector skills councils, but identify areas and regions for growth. We must also understand that the sort of growth that might occur in the process industries in the north-east, for example, will probably not be replicated in the south-west or in London. In London, we would hope for growth in, for example, public sector apprenticeships, which poses a challenge to us in Parliament. Apprenticeships could be attached to the House of Commons, and certainly more could be provided across Whitehall Departments and non-departmental public bodies. All that is fleshed out in the review. I hope that that reflects the sentiment behind the suggestion from the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings.