Bridget meets Ashleigh Hudson , an apprentice with Gentoo Group as part of National Apprenticeship weekHoughton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has called on the government during National Apprenticeship Week to adopt Labour’s plan to use public procurement to boost the numbers of apprenticeship opportunities.

At a time when almost a million young people are unemployed, ministers are failing to boost apprenticeship opportunities for young people – the majority of new apprenticeships since 2010 have come from those in the 25+ category.

According to recent statistics, the number of young people (16-18 year olds) starting an apprenticeship in the first quarter of academic year 2012-13 fell by 9,200 in comparison with the same period last year.

Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the number of 16-18 apprenticeship starts fell by 1,840 in the North East. Only the North West had a higher fall in numbers.

Speaking after an event celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“National Apprenticeship Week offers a great opportunity to emphasise the importance of skills, technical and practical education and to celebrate the achievements of apprentices.

“At a time of record youth unemployment its deeply troubling that the numbers of young people starting at apprenticeship is falling.

“My Labour colleagues and I are calling on the government to adopt our plan to use public procurement to boost apprenticeship numbers. This would mean that private companies bidding for government contracts worth over £1million would have to have high-quality apprenticeship schemes in place as part of the bid.”

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