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Apprentices: North Staffordshire

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what plans Jobcentre Plus has to (a) advertise, (b) promote and (c) fill apprenticeships in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) North Staffordshire; (226595)

(2) what apprenticeships in the construction sector which Jobcentre Plus helped to (a) advertise, (b) promote and (c) fill in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) North Staffordshire in 2007-08;

(3) what apprenticeships Jobcentre Plus helped to (a) advertise, (b) promote and (c) fill in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) North Staffordshire in 2007-08

(4) how many apprenticeships Jobcentre Plus helped to (a) advertise, (b) promote and (c) fill in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) North Staffordshire in 2007-08;

(5) what co-ordination takes place between Jobcentre Plus, local further education colleges and the Learning and Skills Councils to (a) advertise, (b) promote and (c) fill apprenticeships in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) North Staffordshire.

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 21 October 2008:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning the advertising, promotion and filling of apprenticeships in Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Staffordshire. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The Learning and Skills Council have lead responsibility for managing apprenticeships. They hold details of employers interested in offering apprenticeships and provide the information to further education establishments and the local authority Connexions services to promote the opportunities available. They do not advertise the availability of apprenticeships through Jobcentre Plus.

We direct customers who are interested in apprenticeships to the Learning and Skills Council and the local authority Connexions service for young people who hold information on all apprenticeships available. We make this referral through our network of advisers within Jobcentres. Our website www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk also directs customers to the apprenticeships website www.apprenticeships.gov.uk, hosted by the Learning and Skills Council.

We do accept vacancies offering an apprenticeship direct from the employer. Labour Market Recruitment Advisers in local Jobcentres are on hand to offer advice to those employers and direct them to the Connexions Service and the Learning and Skills Council for more information and support regarding apprenticeships.

We do not collect formal data on vacancies we have advertised that have offered an apprenticeship. However, we understand that very few employers offering an apprenticeship have contacted Newcastle-under-Lyme Jobcentre or the other Jobcentres in North Staffordshire. Generally, employers are aware that apprenticeships are handled through Connexions and the Learning and Skills Council and approach them directly.

We are working very closely with North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership to tackle worklessness. In Newcastle-under-Lyme, we hold regular liaison meetings with the local Connexions service, the Learning and Skills Council and other partner organisations; sharing information on modern apprenticeships available is something we are looking at to address worklessness in North Staffordshire.