Alex backs using public contracts to create new apprenticeships

Companies who want to win contracts from the Government should be compelled to hire and train apprentices – and they will be if a new law is introduced.

Labour Member of Parliament for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, has backed the campaign to bring in the new law by signing an Early Day Motion pointing out that it is critical that the number of apprentices is increased.

The Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill enjoys strong cross-party support and, if passed, would ensure that suppliers winning major public contracts would be required to offer apprenticeship opportunities.

The Second Reading of the Bill will take place on the Friday, 01 November 2013 in the House of Commons and, if successful could go some way to reinvigorating the industries vital to recovery, addressing unemployment and the training shortfall, as well as reducing strain upon universities while providing companies with talented new workers.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on Apprenticeships recently recommended this approach and suggested that at least one new apprenticeship place be provided for every £1 million of procurement.

Alex said:

“Apprenticeships play an important role in developing and delivering the skilled workers of tomorrow, and we should celebrate the value of apprenticeships in providing opportunities and developing skills.

“This Bill, in allowing more apprenticeship opportunities through public procurement contracts and promising to make more apprenticeship opportunities available, is particularly important to young people in Stockton North.  At a time when there are almost one million young people out of work across the country, Andrew Gwynne’s proposals will help give them that important first step on the career ladder and I really hope the Government will offer their support.

“The Bill builds on work I have done previously with the National Apprenticeship Service to raise employer awareness of the business case for hiring apprentices and to increase the number of opportunities available for young people across the Tees Valley, as well as my recent work with the British Chambers of Commerce, local employers and local colleges to identify and address skills shortages across the region.”

Andrew Gwynne MP, who introduced the Private Members Bill, said:

“It makes a great deal of sense for the Government and public authorities to use the leverage of the money they already spend on public procurement to promote skills training and provide new apprenticeship opportunities.  This was an approach successfully pursued by the previous Government and I hope the current government will see sense and back this Bill.”