Labour MPs call for reversal of apprenticeship cuts.

‘More than 50 Labour MPs have urged skills minister Robert Halfon to reverse apprenticeships funding cuts exposed by FE Week.

The group led by David Lammy, former minister for higher education and MP for Tottenham, have all signed a letter to apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon describing the potential cuts as “devastating” for apprentices in deprived areas.

This follows publication of FE Week research last month, which exclusively revealed that proposed funding changes could mean a fall of around 30 per cent in funding to providers for 16 to 18 year-old apprentices, and over 50 per cent for those in the poorest areas of central London.

It called on Mr Halfon “in the strongest terms to think again and reverse them”.’ – FE Week

‘Asked about the call by 55 Labour MPs for a rethink, Halfon noted that the government was ensuring more money was going into the apprenticeship system overall and more money on average per apprenticeship.

“This government is doubling investment in apprenticeships because we know they create a ladder of opportunity for our young people. Through the new levy, £2.5bn will be invested in apprenticeships by 2019-20 - twice what was spent in 2010-11,” Halfon said.

He said the changes were also designed to encourage employers to take on 16- to 18-year-olds. “This will help to ensure every young person, regardless of background or ability, has the chance to take their first step into work,” the minister added.

However, training providers fear the proposed changes could force them to withdraw some schemes altogether because the new funding rates will mean some apprenticeships are no longer viable.’ - Guardian

‘…the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), which represents training organisations who deliver three quarters of Britain’s apprenticeships, said some details of the changes would lead to an “apprenticeship desert” in disadvantaged inner-city areas.

A spokesperson for the AELP said: “Estimates by funding experts vary because of the complexity of the Government’s new funding proposals but the apparent removal of area and disadvantage elements could mean funding rates cut by half for the most vulnerable and needy learners on apprenticeships.

“The end result would be that these learners would have the choice of an apprenticeship taken away from them and areas such as inner London becoming apprenticeship deserts.”’ - Independent

‘Education and training for over-16s is not just an add-on for the millions of young people who do not follow the neat linear trajectory from school to university – it equips people who are not well-suited to academia with the skills that can transform their life chances. There are very few areas of government policy in which public investment directly leads to such a large dividend in terms of increasing social mobility.

These cuts represent everything that is wrong and unjust about the Conservative government’s pursuance of an austerity agenda: it is the poorest, the most-disadvantaged and those who most need support who suffer the greatest. That’s why more than 50 Labour MPs have written to the apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon calling on him to reverse these misguided cuts.

On the steps of Downing Street, Theresa May promised to “help anybody, whatever your background, go as far as your talents will take you”. These cuts would achieve the opposite effect, and they are a betrayal of young people from working-class and low-income backgrounds.’ – David Lammy in Guardian


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