Bridget Phillipson - profile shotHoughton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has today called on the Tory-led Government to do more to increase apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

The latest unemployment statistics show that across the country more than 1 million young people aged between 16 and 24 are now out of work. In Houghton and Sunderland South there are 335 unemployed young people.

Under Labour the number of apprenticeship starts increased dramatically from 65,000 in 1996/97 to just under 280,000 in 2009/10.

This week City of Sunderland College is hosting an open week at The Teleport, Doxford Park, to give employers the facts and information about apprenticeships and help overcome some of the barriers that they face. If you’re an employer and would like more information, click here.

Calling on the government to take action, Bridget said:

“Apprenticeships are a real and viable option for young people today, a clear legacy of Labour’s commitment to the programme during our time in office.

“But with over 1 million young people out of work, it is clear the Government needs to do more to help firms create the apprenticeship opportunities young people desperately need. That’s why we’re calling on them to back our proposals to help smaller businesses to take on an apprentice and to deliver more apprenticeship places through the billions of pounds which government spends on procurement.

“Building up our skills base can play a crucial role in boosting growth across the regions -; but the Tory-led Government has completely failed to recognise this link, preferring instead to micromanage both growth funding and apprenticeship policy from Whitehall . Ministers need to take action urgently to ensure that businesses, especially smaller firms, feel able to create the apprenticeship opportunities young people are crying out for across our regions.”

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