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Labour has promised to overhaul apprenticeships –correctly arguing that compared with the demand for them, there has been nowhere near enough and that most have been low level only lasting for a year, often in low paid sectors of the service economy rather than in manufacturing, engineering and construction. Until recently also, many employers have converted existing employees into apprentices –allowing training providers to access state funding and government to meet its targets.
This is the context behind Ed Miliband’s conference speech in which the Labour leader promised to increase apprentice numbers to levels equivalent to the 400 000 plus young people who start university every year. But the announcement also tallies with Labour’s plans to create vocational alternatives, including a Techbacc, for the ‘forgotten 50%’ not going on to Higher Education.
With 200 000 apprenticeship starts by under 24 year olds in the…
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