Apprenticeships firmly on the agenda for 2012
by JOSH TAYLOR
APPRENTICESHIPS in Burton have nearly doubled in recent years, new figures have shown.
There were 960 youngsters serving apprenticeships in Burton and surrounding areas during 2010-11.
This rose sharply from 540 during 2009- 10 — signalling a surge of 76 per cent.
The increase was hailed by the town's MP as he unveiled the figures in a House of Commons debate on apprenticeships.
Tory backbencher Andrew Griffiths told fellow MPs: "The number of apprenticeships in my constituency has increased from 540 to 960.
"That represents young people being given the skills and the training they need to get back into work and I am proud of what this coalition Government is achieving." He continued: "We all recognise that apprenticeships are a fantastic brand and that people understand what they do.
"They do what it says on the tin: they give young people experience of the workplace, and education and training to help them to develop their careers."
Mr Griffiths also praised work done by Burton and South Derbyshire College to bolster the number of apprenticeships in the region.
"Burton and South Derbyshire College is a fantastic provider of apprenticeships, training and education to young people in my constituency."
He did, however, call on the Government to go further with its apprenticeships agenda.
"I want to make a plea. Demand is outstripping supply," he said.
"We all know of young people in our constituencies who want to get back into work or into an apprenticeship, but who cannot do so because not enough apprenticeships are available.
"It is true that larger businesses are more geared up to take apprentices, but if we want to get young people back into work, surely we should give them that opportunity in some of our biggest and finest companies across the globe."
The MP went on to claim manufacturing had a bigger part to play in the British economy.
"I would like to make a plea on behalf of manufacturing, as a boy who grew up working for the family engineering business,” he told the House of Commons.
"Engineering and manufacturing are very important for our economy, with 12 per cent of economic output and 54 per cent of UK exports in manufacturing.
"We are often told that we cannot manufacture things because our production and work force costs are too high.
"However, Germany's labour costs are 63 per cent higher than the UK's.
"We have the skills and the work force.
We just have to train our young people to get involved in engineering and manufacturing, and sell our great British products across the globe."