Labour has set out its plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in Luton, as data reveals the Tories’ decade of decline in apprenticeships and training has left the country unprepared for the future.
Over the last decade, apprenticeship starts have declined by 250 in Luton South as the Tories have failed to equip individuals and the economy with the skills to meet our national challenges including transition to net zero and rising demand for digital skills.
National Apprenticeships Week recognises the enormous contribution made by apprentices and their employers in Luton South, giving people the chance to earn as they learn and delivering the skills our country needs to prosper. However, under the Conservatives these training opportunities have been disappearing especially for young people. Rachel Hopkins MP has long championed apprenticeships, meeting with many apprentices in industries ranging from STEM to manufacturing to hear about their experiences with this particular route into work.
To reverse the Conservatives’ downwards trend in apprenticeship numbers, Labour will give businesses the flexibility they’re asking for to train their workforce and deliver growth. We will start by turning the Tories’ failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’.
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 spent 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 a new taskforce, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission to deliver 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.
Rachel Hopkins MP, Member of Parliament for Luton South, said:
“The Tories have overseen a decade of decline in skills and training opportunities and young people in Luton are suffering. There are now 250 less apprenticeship starts than when the Conservatives came to power in 2010.
Boosting Britain’s skills will be a national mission for Labour, led by a new national skills taskforce to meet skills needs and drive growth in towns like Luton.
Young people and adults in our town want to learn new skills to get new jobs, or progress at work but they are being let down by this Government, unable to find training opportunities.”