Labour Parliamentary Candidates for North and South Swindon have marked National Apprenticeships Week by explaining a key strategy.
Will Stone and Heidi Alexander set out Labour’s plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in the town, and said data revealed a decade of decline in apprenticeships and training had left Swindon unprepared for the future.
According to Labour, over the last decade apprenticeship starts have declined by 130 in South Swindon and 90 in North Swindon.
To reverse this downward trend, the candidates promised, Labour would give businesses the flexibility they asked for to train their workforces and deliver growth.
South Swindon candidate Heidi Alexander said: “Boosting skills and training opportunities in Swindon is essential to meet the economic challenges we face.
"With large employers in Swindon, like Nationwide, announcing significant job losses this week, it’s critical we ensure businesses have the flexibility they need to train people up with new skills from digital technologies, to the green skills needed to tackle climate change.”
“For 12 years the Conservative Government have been letting down our community with a decade of decline in opportunities.
“Young people in Swindon and are ambitious for their future and want to learn new skills to get new jobs, or progress at work. We need a Government which matches their ambition and starts to deliver real change for the town”
North Swindon candidate Will Stone said: “For too long the next generation have been failed by the Conservative Government.
"The Labour Party’s proposal to use the apprenticeship levy in a more flexible way builds on Labour’s commitment to embed essential digital and life-skills across the school curriculum, and ensure all young people receive professional careers advice and work experience so they leave education ready for work and for life.”
Labour says that as part of a wider package of reform, it will establish a new taskforce, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission to deliver the skills needs of the next decade.
This, it says, 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.
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