Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Gordon Marsden MP, Labour's Shadow Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth Minister, is today calling on the Government to take action to boost apprenticeship opportunities for young people at small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth would provide a one year National Insurance tax break to small firms taking on additional employees to help them grow and create jobs.

Gordon Marsden MP - who visited a group training association in Blackburn, Lancashire this morning which helps SMEs work together to provide apprenticeships, said:

"Apprenticeships have a key role in play in both providing new opportunities for young people and boosting growth across the regions. For all the government’s rhetoric on apprenticeships, they are still failing to create enough places for the young people, while many smaller sized businesses still feel unable to take part.

"Today we are calling for action the government could take now to expand apprenticeship places and remove burdens for SMEs, building on our five point plan for jobs and growth and our call for the government to use its power as a consumer to reward companies offering apprenticeships for contracts above a £1 million threshold.

"Ministers need to draw on existing best practice, utilising the existing supply chain relationship of bigger companies to ‘buddy up’ with their suppliers in boosting apprenticeship take up."

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