Ruth Cadbury MP has backed a new plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in West London, as new data reveals a decade of decline in apprenticeships and training due to a lack of action from the Government.
Over the last decade apprenticeship starts have declined by 21% in Ruth’s Brentford and Isleworth constituency as successive Governments since 2010 have failed to equip people with the skills needed for the future of work, particularly in digital skills.
To reverse this downwards trend Ruth has backed a plan to give employers the flexibility they’re asking for to train their workforce and deliver growth. This would start by turning the Governments failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’. The existing scheme has seen millions of pounds that should be used for skills training going unspent, even as businesses report growing skills shortages. Giving employers flexibility as to how this funding can be used, would ensure this money could be used on a greater range of courses such as basic English, maths and digital skills, so businesses can fill skills gaps and people can gain new skills to progress at work.
As part of a wider package of reform Ruth also backed the creation of a new taskforce, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission to deliver the skills needs of the next decade. This will be driven by pushing power and decisions on skills spending out from Westminster to local communities, so those communities can better match up skills training with their local business needs.
Speaking in full Ruth Cadbury MP said,
‘For over twelve years the Government have been letting down local young people, those looking for new roles and businesses here by falling to invest in skills and training.
‘‘It’s shocking that despite the hard work of our businesses and schools locally that there’s been a fall of over 20% in the number of apprenticeships locally.
‘‘I know from listening to apprentices locally that it can be a life-changing difference for them. They get to learn a skill, they get experience of a workplace and they get to meet new people.
‘‘Good apprenticeships can make a huge difference and the Government should be doing more to create them across West London.’’
Toby Perkins MP, Shadow Skills Minister for the Official Opposition, 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 plan builds on our 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.”