Apprenticeships and Skills Policy — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:49 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 2:49 pm, 8th January 2019

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David, and it is an even greater pleasure to follow Judith Cummins. I will take advantage of the way in which she has drawn the subject so widely because I want to answer a fundamental question: how do we get students who are still at school to focus on the options of an apprenticeship and skills training rather than going to university? Those Members who know me may think that that is a rather surprising thing for me to say—I went to three universities and had attachments to two foreign universities while doing so. She will have to forgive that, but I ask the question seriously.

There are two aspects to answering that question: schools, and the method by which we get people attracted to the options of apprenticeships and skills training, which is through work placements. I will start by looking at work placements as a precursor to people going on apprenticeships. I am sure that we have all had people on work placements in our offices; I know that for much of the run-up to the summer holidays, I have a person on a work placement every week. I wonder how many people we are trying to line up to be politicians when we are supposed to be cutting back the number of MPs.