Metro Mayor Dan Norris is calling on the government to learn from the West of England’s apprenticeship scheme and adopt a Labour’s plan which would create 1700 new apprenticeships for young people in the West of England.
The Metro Mayor currently runs his own West of England scheme encouraging big businesses that pay the apprentice-levy to give their unused levy funds to other local businesses.
This has led to a million pounds of training cash being pledged from the West, staying in the West, and nearly new 60 apprentices taken on.
But in a move backed by the Association of Employers and Learning Providers and Labour nationally Mr Norris is now calling on the government to change the rules and require all unspent levy cash to be used in an apprenticeship wage subsidy scheme which could have created nearly 1700 new apprenticeships in the West of England this year.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris, said:
“I’m pleased to back National Apprenticeship Week, recognising the enormous contribution made by apprentices to our economy and wider society. Here in Bath and North East Somerset there has been a 5% increase in apprentices.
But the Government is failing to create all the opportunities young people need to prosper. We shouldn’t need to rely on local persuasion to get big businesses to use their training cash, the Government should require it. I’d like to see 100% of training funds raised to be then spent on training, not languishing in Government bank accounts.
Here in the West of England we’ve proved there is a real appetite for more apprentice opportunities, a nationwide scheme utilising all the cash could go even further.”
Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills, Toby Perkins MP, said:
“Instead of focusing on creating new opportunities for young people and tackling the skills shortages across key sectors of the UK economy, this government is distracted by scandals at the heart of Downing Street.”
The West of England scheme helps small businesses with training costs to take on new apprentices. Employers from big businesses can pledge their unspent apprenticeship levy at: www.wtpn.org.uk/apprenticeship-levy-transfer.