Hull MP backs using public contracts to create new apprenticeships

Hull North MP Diana Johnson is today (Friday 1 November) backing a Commons campaign for a law that would boost the number of skills apprenticeships.

The proposal, entitled the Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill, would ensure that suppliers winning major public contracts should be required to offer apprenticeship opportunities.

Diana Johnson MP joined other supporters of the Bill at Westminster today to show their support for the initiative. The Bill will invigorate the industries vital to recovery, address unemployment and the training shortfall as well as reducing strain upon universities and providing companies with talented new workers.

Recently the Fifth Report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on Apprenticeships recommended this approach and suggested that at least one new apprenticeship place could be provided for every £1 million of procurement spend.

Diana Johnson MP said: "We should celebrate the value of apprenticeships in providing opportunities and developing modern skills for the jobs of the future that we're trying to attract to Hull. This Apprenticeships and Skills Bill would allow more apprenticeship opportunities through public procurement contracts.

"This is particularly important to young people in Hull, especially when there are almost one million young people out of work across the country. In Hull long term youth unemployment has soared under the Coalition, we have one of the highest levels of NEETs and the low quality 'apprenticeships' offered under this Coalition do little more than massage young people off the official jobless figures.

"This Bill promises to make more high quality apprenticeship opportunities available to young people, giving them that first important step on the career ladder. It would be a disgrace if Coalition MPs blocked this Bill from becoming law."

Andrew Gwynne MP, who introduced the Private Members Bill, said: "I wanted to introduce a Bill that had a chance to make a real difference throughout the country. I have seen at first-hand just how successful apprenticeships are in providing high quality training and a great start to working life.

"It makes a great deal of sense for the government and public authorities to use the leverage of the money they already spend on public procurement to promote skills training and provide new apprenticeship opportunities.

"This was an approach successfully pursued by the previous Government and I hope the current Government will see sense and back this Bill."