Preet Kaur Gill MP has set out Labour’s plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in Birmingham, as data reveals the Tories’ decade of decline in apprenticeships and training has left the country unprepared for the future.
Over the last decade, new apprenticeship programmes have declined by 3,930 in Birmingham and incredibly by as many as 21,610 across the wider West Midlands region. The Conservatives have failed to ensure people have the skills to meet business need in order to tackle the national skills shortages.
Preet Kaur Gill MP, for Birmingham Edgbaston said: “I’m appalled that the West Midlands has lost over 21,000 apprenticeship opportunities. This is a fundamental part of the regional mayor’s responsibilities. What is the point of having a Conservative Mayor if he isn’t going to engage with his own Government and stand up for our region?
“First it was the investment zones which were abandoned, then we were passed over in favour of party politics over the levelling up fund and now our region is being further let down by a lack of ambition in respect of skills and training.
“Young people and adults are aspirational for their families’ futures and want to learn new skills to get new jobs and progress at work. But they are being let down, unable to find training opportunities. Labour will reverse this trend, giving businesses the flexibility they need to train people up with new skills, from digital technologies to the green skills needed to tackle climate change.”
Labour will give businesses the flexibility they are asking for, in order to train their workforce and deliver growth. The next Labour Government will start by turning the Tories’ failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’.
The Conservatives’ levy has seen millions of pounds unspent on skills and training, even as businesses report growing skills shortages. Labour will give businesses flexibility and would ensure this money is directed at a broad range of training courses which will include English, maths and digital skills.
As part of a wider package of reform, Labour will establish a new taskforce, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission, delivering the skills needed for the next decade. This will be driven by pushing power and decisions on skills spending out from Westminster to local communities.
Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Skills Minister, said, “Boosting in skills and training opportunities will be essential to meeting the economic challenges we face and enabling people at every stage of their lives to learn, retrain and progress at work.
“This builds on Labour’s commitment to embed essential digital and life-skills across the school curriculum, and ensure all young people receive professional careers advice and work experience so they leave education ready for work and for life.”
ENDS Notes to editors
Constituency apprenticeships data: Apprenticeships and Traineeships: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/f03f689f-ddff-4ef0-2d09-08dafaf734a0