'We have a duty to boost apprenticeships', says Alan Mak MP
The chair of the Entrepreneurship APPG spoke of the importance of apprenticeships on Monday night at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.
Apprenticeships offer a boost in productivity and have many benefits. Photo credit: Aladdin Pr
Kevin Schofield, editor of PoliticsHome, welcomed attendees to the event supported by World Skills UK, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Open University and Alstom.
Alan Mak MP said: “We all know that apprenticeships are good for workers because it improves their skills, good for productivity and good for the companies involved” stated Mak, speaking at the Apprenticeships Forum reception. “Our job this week is to spread the message across the whole country into every sector, into every industry, into every region, into every nation of the United Kingdom.”
He added: “We all have a duty to try and boost apprenticeships and spread their profile”.
Mak said that as the chair of parliament’s APPG on Entrepreneurship, the Apprenticeship Forum reception was “one of the most important events that we have at conference this week, putting the future of work and the future of the economy right at the top of the political agenda.”
He referred to the success of the Coalition Government, which had delivered over two million apprenticeships, and said the current Government had pledged a further three million by 2020.
The lifetime benefits of apprenticeships were well known, Mak said, as those with a level 2 or level 3 qualification could expect to receive an extra £48,000 - £100,000 in additional earnings over the course of their career.
He said it also offered “a boost in productivity”, as customers were more likely to buy from apprenticeship-savvy companies and apprentices could start their careers at really reputable firms.
Highlighting progress made so far in this area, the Havant MP said in April 2016 the Government abolished employers’ national insurance payments, which he said “made employing an apprentice under 25 even easier.” He pointed to the upcoming introduction of the apprenticeship levy, saying this would raise an additional £2bn of revenue to fund more apprenticeships and more higher level apprenticeships.
This additional funding would ensure that apprenticeships were “embedded into the fabric of working life,” he said. They would be built into UK industry, and crucially, “built in, not just bolted on”.
He asked delegates to call on all MPs to hold jobs and apprenticeship fairs in their constituencies, as he had done recently in his own constituency, with 550 jobs on offers from 50 local employers.
He also praised the devolution agenda with various city deals and local enterprise partnerships, urging people to speak to their local authority leaders to ensure their region benefitted from the additional money offered for skills and training through these devolution schemes.
With this increased support for the skills sector, he said, Britain would become “a world leader in skills, employability and apprenticeships.”
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