The Minister for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles MP, has praised Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne for persuading the Government to adopt a policy of making companies receiving public procurement contracts to provide more apprenticeships.
The MP introduced a Bill in 2013 to force those companies taking a large share of the £240bn in annual procurement spending by the Government to expand their apprenticeship provision for young people.
Labour has a strong record of delivering on apprenticeships and persuading the Government to do more. In government, Labour set up the dedicated National Apprenticeship Service to promote and expand the apprenticeship scheme and engage with employers, as well as launching National Apprenticeship Week in 2008. After it became clear that many apprenticeships were lasting less than a year, pressure from Labour forced the Government to adopt a 12-month minimum duration for all apprenticeships in 2012.
In the House of Commons, Minister Nick Boles said:
‘I would like to pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman’s leadership on this issue. Sometimes Government Members take a while to be persuaded of the merits of an intervention, but once persuaded, we are absolutely determined to fulfil it.’
Afterwards, Andrew Gwynne MP said:
‘I am delighted by this conversion by the Government, and the Minister’s praise for my Bill, but we need some answers on how they will measure a company’s commitment to apprenticeships. We must now allow some companies to continue ignoring the problem whilst taking huge amounts of taxpayers’ cash.
‘Long-term unemployment can have an awful impact on communities and individuals alike. We must do everything we can to help get these young people back into work.’