Boost in skills and training needed after ‘years of decline’ in apprenticeships, says MP John Healey

MORE TRAINING: Says MP John HealeyMORE TRAINING: Says MP John Healey
MORE TRAINING: Says MP John Healey
WENTWORTH and Dearne MP John Healey has set out Labour’s plan to boost skills and drive economic growth across Rotherham, as data reveals years of decline in apprenticeships and training.

Over the past eight years apprenticeship numbers have declined by 1,520 across Rotherham as the Tories have failed to equip individuals and the economy with the skills to meet national challenges including rising demand for digital skills, says Mr Healey.

To reverse this downward trend Labour will train over 1,000 new careers advisors to provide professional advice and guidance at schools and colleges, alongside high-quality work experience for young people.

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Mr Healey said: “Apprentices across Rotherham should be celebrated for their impact on our community and local economy.

“But over the last eight years the Government has been letting down our area with a decline in opportunities.

“Local young people and adults are ambitious for their families’ futures and want to learn new skills to get new jobs, or progress at work.

“Labour will reverse the decline, giving businesses the flexibility they need to train people up with new skills.”

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He says Labour will give businesses the flexibility they’re asking for to train their workforce and deliver growth, starting by turning the Tories’ “failed apprenticeships levy” into a Growth and Skills Levy.

Mr Healey says the Conservatives’ levy has seen millions of pounds that should be used for skills training going unspent, even as businesses report growing skills shortages. Giving businesses flexibility would ensure this money could be used on a greater range of training courses including basic English, maths and digital skills, so businesses can fill skills gaps and people can gain new skills to progress at work.

As part of a wider package of reform, Labour will establish Skills England, a new national body tasked with driving forward a national ambition to meet the skills needs of the next decade. This will be driven by pushing power and decisions on skills spending out from Westminster to local communities, so those communities can better match up skills training with their local business needs and grow local and regional economies, Mr Healey added.