From education to employment

The Positive Impact of Apprenticeships

MPs meet with apprentices and employers to discuss the merits of apprenticeships.

Skills Minister David Lammy, John Hayes MP and Michael Martin, Speaker of the House of Commons were amongst those lending cross-party support at a reception to promote the merits of Apprenticeships.
They were amongst the speakers at the event which was organised by the Associate Parliamentary Skills Group and attended by MPs, apprentices and employers.
Speaker of the House, Michael Martin, who is a former apprentice himself, spoke of the benefits of apprenticeships – to the young people embarking on such programmes, to their employers and to the country. He said: “It is a good thing to work with your hands. Too much is made about university which I don’t decry but I would say there is also a place for bright people to be apprentices and craftsmen.”
Speaking of his own experiences as an apprentice sheet-metal worker in Glasgow, Mr Martin said it didn’t just teach him the skills of the trade but taught him about life, and how to build relationships with other people. He said: “There are many things I put into practice as a politician which I learnt on the factory floor.”
Skills Minister David Lammy reiterated the Government’s commitment to expand the Apprenticeship programme in the next five years: “We believe passionately in the merits of apprenticeships. It is our ambition that one in five school leavers takes on an apprenticeship by 2013 and that there is an apprenticeship available to everyone who wants it.”
The Minister said that much had been achieved in recent years with completion rates rising and a range of apprenticeships available now beyond the traditional sectors. He added: “For employers its not just about helping young people – and adults. Apprenticeships are also good for your business and for UK plc. You get loyalty and bespoke employers trained up to meet the needs of your business.”
Baroness Morris of Yardley, who was hosting the event, commented that there are not many issues which everyone backs but the Apprenticeship programme is something everyone seems to get behind. Thus John Hayes, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, was there to lend his support. He echoed the sentiments of the Speaker of the House, saying that apprenticeships offered much more than just the acquisition of skills. “Apprenticeships test real competencies but add value in all kinds of other ways. People mature through apprentices and we should never under estimate the value it adds to human capital. An advanced economy needs advanced skills and we need many more people with skills to compete globally.”
Paul McLaren, in his third year of an apprenticeship with BAE Systems said that it was an environment in which to thrive and improve his knowledge and experience. “Despite spending two to three hours commuting to work each day, I consider it a small sacrifice to pay.”
Rosie Spowart

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