There is no better way to back people’s aspirations than to invest in apprenticeships and through them the skills that can make huge differences to people’s careers.
The UK is in a global race of competition with some incredibly fast-growing economies such as India and China, and if we want to succeed we must invest in our number one resources, our people.
Last weekend I attended this year’s 1066 Business Awards at the Bannatyne Spa Hotel and heard about the successes of so many of our local businesses. I especially enjoyed how people came up to me to say the Chancellor’s Summer Budget would be good news for their local businesses. But many of our local businesses were worried that they cannot fill their vacancies as they require a better skilled workforce. Therefore we need to make sure there are great skills, training, and quality apprenticeships so that we can make the most of people’s talent and so that our local businesses can grow from strength to strength.
Locally, unemployment in Hastings and Rye is down by 23% since last year and youth unemployment is down by 27% over the same period. But more still needs to be done! But more still needs to be done. There are still too many local people out of work. That is why I want to continue to support job creation in Hastings and Rye and support organisations like Marshall-Tufflex, Saga, Sussex Coast College and the many other fantastic organisations and small businesses who are doing their bit to employ and train local young people. In March this year, Sussex Coast College launched a “You’re Hired” campaign in order to gain more pledges by local companies to take on apprentices. The target was 500 pledges in 5 months. Within 5 days of its launch, 220 pledges were raised, with over 100 alone just for Hastings.
What is more, at the National Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony at Sussex Coast College earlier this year I met a couple of the winners. They told me how their apprenticeship had been a positive stepping stone from school into a job; they can gain solid qualifications with a local employer and earn a wage at the same time. And they are right. Investing in apprenticeships is a win-win situation. It’s good for the apprentice as they get the chance to acquire skills that will be a fantastic launchpad for their career. There is research evidence out there that shows 90% of apprentices stay in work after their apprenticeship is over; 71% with the same employer. It’s a win for the companies too, because the government is putting money into apprenticeships- allowing companies to access great training and skills which will be good for those companies.
From August last year to April this year we have had 610 new apprenticeship starts. I want to see that increase even further. I want us to believe that in school everyone can either take the path to university or the path on to an apprenticeship. University is important, but not for everyone- apprenticeships can break down the door to the professions for more people than ever before, ensuring that no young person is left behind. And just last month the Government announced that the term ‘apprenticeship’ will be protected in law. This will give the Government power to take action when the term is misused to promote low quality courses and ensure that apprenticeships are recognised as a career path equal to higher education.
The Government also announced that public bodies will now be set targets to take on more apprentices; schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces will all be creating opportunities for young people. Further details on how to become an apprentice or employ an apprentice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships.
I am committed to seeing more apprenticeships within Hastings and Rye and will encourage local businesses to develop apprenticeship opportunities for future generations in Hastings and Rye.
All employers can make apprenticeships part of their future, and give more young people the chance to do the same.