Labour leader ED’s apprentice boost

Labour leader Ed Miliband met apprentices at the Volkswagen Learning Group during a visit to Milton Keynes yesterday.

Mr Miliband was treated to a tour of the workshops at the Wymbush centre before holding a question and answer session with prospective apprentices as part of an induction day at the centre.

He visited the city as part of a whistlestop tour of schemes across the south-east encouraging young people to take part in the apprentice programme as a viable passage into work.

Around 75 potential apprentices, along with their parents, had the chance to quiz the Labour leader who said that investment needs to be made in the city to help create high quality jobs.

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, Andrew Pakes, said: “It was good to have Ed Miliband in the city and have the opportunity to showcase the work we’re doing on apprenticeships.

“Milton Keynes is a resilient economy but we need to do more to support young people who want to do vocational training.

“Ed was absolutely right to say that somewhere like Milton Keynes will only succeed if we invest in skills and create more high quality jobs.”

Mr Pakes said the number young people in the Milton Keynes area taking up apprenticeships had dropped ove r the last year. The number of 19-year-olds taking up apprenticeships, in 2011/12 stood at around 16,240 but in 2012/13 the number had fallen by 1,260 to 14,980.

Iain Stewart, Mp for MK South said: “I agree that apprenticeships are important. That’s why the Government has already increased funding available to companies to take on apprenticeships, including a £1,500 grant to small and medium sized companies to take on an apprentice.

“As a result of this and other measures, the number of apprenticeships locally and nationally is sharply up on the number under Labour.

“Locally, I have been very active in encouraging the take-up in apprenticeships and earlier this year, together with Mark Lancaster MP, organised a jobs and apprenticeships fair for young people.

“I am pleased that the Labour leader seems to be backing what we are doing.”