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Apprenticeship promise delivered

December 16, 2014 10:15 AM
By David Faulkner in The Journal

Instead of celebrating the remarkable achievement of two million apprenticeships, and a disproportionately high percentage in the region, the Newcastle Journal's front page lead (10th December) headlines on criticism that small businesses are being given direct control of the funding of their own apprenticeships. I thought this was the kind of thing that businesses were always asking for?

It's becoming a bit of a regular occurrence that the Journal focuses on the hole and not the doughnut.

In pejorative fashion it said that the Business Secretary "boasted" of the two million apprenticeships. Isn't it something to celebrate? However, what he actually said was

"One of my key priorities when I started as Business Secretary almost five years ago was for any young person to have two equally attractive routes to a rewarding career - by going to university or doing an apprenticeship. We're now well on our way to achieving those ambitions, for which I thank all the businesses and colleges involved, and all those individuals who are taking control of their futures by becoming apprentices."

A promise fulfilled, but hey, let's find something to complain about eh?

If SMEs are going to find it "bureaucratic" to have to do this themselves rather than via a training provider then maybe they could collaborate via sectors, or supply chains or via the Chamber of Commerce or Federation of Small Businesses?

Notice also in the Autumn Statement that employer NI contributions will be scrapped for apprentices under the age of 25. This will save employers money and hopefully encourage others (sadly, still the huge majority of employers) who don't take on apprentices to do so.

Councillor David Faulkner
Liberal Democrat Group, Newcastle City Council