20 Conservative MPs have written to ConservativeHome, commending the progress the Government, and in particular, Skills Minister John Hayes, has made with regards to apprenticeships. Here is their letter in full:
Dear Tim,Your article (“Apprenticeships – the government's ‘remarkable, unprecedented’ success story – 29th October) highlighted the welcome dramatic increase in the take up of apprenticeships during the last year. As members of the 2010 Conservative intake who campaigned on this issue, we were not only heartened by the over 50% increase in apprenticeship starts for 2010/11, but encouraged by important aspects of this growth.
Firstly, the strong increase in engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships (up 20%) will be especially important as we strive to rebalance the economy towards more high-end manufacturing and greater exports. Secondly, around three quarters of the growth is amongst the over 25s with a firm weighting towards advanced level apprenticeships (A level equivalent); factors which underpin the necessary re-skilling of the workforce – identified by Lord Leitch in his landmark report for the previous Government – via the apprenticeship route. Thirdly, the significant increase in the number taking apprenticeships in business, accounting and law will be important in widening access to the professions and so vital in promoting greater social mobility.The facts flatly contradict critics’ predictions that apprenticeship growth would be almost all at the low levels and in anything but the high tech, high skilled sectors of the economy.We believe that the Government’s striking progress in this area is of critical importance to both our economic future and for the life chances of the hundreds of thousands of people who are now seizing the opportunities apprenticeships present.The positive shift in the perception of apprenticeships, their rapid take up and an emphasis on quality, through minimum contract values for providers and stricter rules on employment, owe much to the work of our Party through our Skills Minister, John Hayes MP who vigorously championed apprenticeships for many years in opposition and has now successfully driven this programme through to real delivery in the early life of this Parliament.Yours FaithfullyStuart Andrew MPJake Berry MPAndrew Bingham MPNicola Blackwood MPNeil Carmichael MPOliver Colvile MPJane Ellison MPGeorge Freeman MPZac Goldsmith MPRichard Graham MPRob Halfon MPMatt Hancock MPRichard Harrington MPSajid Javid MPBrandon Lewis MPStephen McPartland MPSheryll Murray MPSarah Newton MPNeil Parish MPPaul Uppal MP