Cannock Chase MP calls for higher profile and status for apprenticeships

Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase used a speech in Parliament to call for apprenticeships to be given a higher profile and status in order to increase uptake.

Whilst Amanda Milling MP recently welcomed figures which showed that Cannock Chase topped the tables in Staffordshire for apprenticeship starts between August and October last year, she wants to see more young people get the opportunity to start an apprenticeship and progress to higher level apprenticeships in 2016. 

In the debate, Amanda showed her support of the Government’s Enterprise Bill which will see the term apprenticeship protected in the same way the term ‘degrees’ is protected.  The legislation will mean that only those qualifications that meet statutory requirements can be described as an apprenticeship.

She also welcomed a recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Education which will mean that schools will have to offer balanced career advice, promoting both university degrees and apprenticeships.

In her speech, Amanda called on the government to do more nationally to promote apprenticeships to help address awareness and understanding of apprenticeships, as well as their value.  She called for a national advertising campaign to increase the profile of apprenticeships, similar to the ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign. The Minister of State (Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise), The Rt Hon Anna Soubry announced that there were plans for such a campaign in the Spring.

Amanda, a keen advocate of apprenticeships, has been promoting apprenticeships both in Parliament and in Cannock Chase and last year ran an event with local businesses to outline the benefits of taking on an apprentice.  In her speech, she outlined the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses as well as to those that become apprenticeships.

With the majority of apprenticeships being Level 2, Amanda called for more to be done to encourage apprentices to go on to higher levels, with a report published last Autumn by the Sutton Trust suggesting that the earning potential of people who have undertaken higher level apprenticeships rivals that of people with degrees.

Amanda Milling said: “University degrees are not right for all, with some young people and careers better suited to apprenticeships.  This is why I am pleased the government is doing more to put apprenticeships and degrees on a level footing.  It is important that only high quality apprenticeships can be called such and this is why I am pleased that the term ‘apprenticeship’ will be protected.  I also believe that it is really important that we guide young people to all the options available to them after school – whether that be academic or vocational qualifications, such as apprenticeships.

She added: “Cannock Chase businesses and young people have been embracing apprenticeships, with us recently topping the Staffordshire tables in terms of apprenticeship starts.  But I want us to continue to encourage young people to take this chance to ‘earn while you learn’, and become an apprentice which will give them all the skills to have a great career.

You can read Amanda’s speech in the debate by clicking here – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160202/debtext/160202-0003.htm#16020271000472.