As National Apprenticeship Week begins, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called on the Government to do more to increase the number of apprenticeships in the region.
The North East will have 1,840 fewer apprenticeships this year than in 2010/11, with the figure standing at 9,230. Labour is calling on the Government to adopt a plan to use public procurement to boost apprenticeship numbers. Such a policy would require private companies bidding for Government contracts worth over £1million to have high-quality apprenticeship schemes in place as part of the bid.
Alex is pleased to have been able to himself offer an opportunity within his constituency office, employing Lauren Rutherford as a Business Administration apprentice following a successful application and interview. Lauren works four days per week in Alex’s office and spends one day completing her apprenticeship qualifications at Stockton Riverside College.
“Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to build up knowledge and skills while earning money. This gives apprentices excellent employability prospects, and the Government needs to do more to encourage businesses to take on apprentices.
“Apprenticeship starts under the last Labour government quadrupled, reaching 280,000 starts in our final year in office. With almost a million young people across the country not in education, employment or training, I am trying to help increase the number of apprenticeships on offer across the Tees Valley.
“I have been proactive in working towards this aim, appointing my first apprentice in November 2012. Lauren has become a vital member of my team and is gaining skills which will help her going forwards in the job market. I have also written to businesses and other organisations in my constituency outlining the benefits of taking on apprentices”.
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