MP calls for action on apprentices

Published on: 25 Mar 2016

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SOUTH Bristol’s MP Karin Smyth has challenged the Prime Minister to make good his pledges to recruit three million high-quality apprentices, partly funded by a levy on big businesses.

But the MP says she does not want to play party politics and wants to hear from local businesses about the challenges they face in providing training.

Ms Smyth used National Apprenticeship Week in March to make an open call to small and medium size firms to set out their ambitions for apprenticeship schemes over the next decade. 

She wants firms to write to her saying how official bodies can help them provide quality training.

South Bristol lacks many large employers – though there are hopes that if the arena is built, hundreds of jobs and training opportunities will be created for local people.

The Labour MP wrote to David Cameron expressing her strong support for the Government’s ambitious target of three million apprenticeships by 2020.

“Over recent months I’ve met lots of business owners and staff who are keen to play their part in offering training and apprenticeship opportunities,” she said.

“Like me they hear the pledge for three million apprenticeships by 2020, they welcome it, and they are keen to get involved, but many of them are unclear about how to go about it, and how best to equip their own firms with the tools to ensure they can offer good quality training openings that meets local need.”

Previously she challenged the Prime Minister in the Commons to reveal his delivery plan for apprenticeships, or if he was “making up this policy as he goes along”.

The next day she asked skills minister Nick Boles a similar question. The minister responded: “We do have a lot of questions that we need to answer,” but promised details will be revealed during April.

In the Commons exchange Ms Smyth said: “We do still await the details of the new apprentice levy, how targets will work in practice and indeed how colleges and other providers will be supported to do the important work they need to do.”

Owners of small and medium-sized businesses in south Bristol – and staff with responsibility for training – are invited to give their views by email to or to write to Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.


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