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Manufacturing Skills

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 27 October 2011

We are promoting manufacturing skills with success. Provisional figures show substantial growth, with 47,020 apprenticeship programme starts in engineering and manufacturing technologies in 2010 alone. That is an increase of 20%. The development of advanced and higher level apprenticeships and the roll-out of the “see inside manufacturing” initiative will build on that success.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the increase in the number of apprenticeships that was announced today, which demonstrates a real commitment on the part of the Government and employers to training the next generation. Companies such as ATB Morley, in my constituency, and Airedale International are crying out for a skilled work force. Will my hon. Friend elaborate on how apprenticeships can help to provide the training skills that such companies need?

Apprenticeships are, of course, jobs. They give people a chance to learn in the workplace. They provide individuals with a chance to gain the skills that they need and that fuel social mobility, they provide companies with a chance to gain the skills that they need in order to prosper, and they provide Britain with a chance to become a more cohesive, successful and prosperous nation.

When the Minister has a moment, will he reflect on early-day motion 2218, which seeks to expose six British construction companies that are threatening to tear up the national pay agreement for skilled electricians and thus trying to de-skill the construction industry? Perhaps in the fullness of time he will give us a written response expressing his view of those actions.

I should be happy to do that. The hon. Gentleman has made an interesting point, and I will certainly consider doing what he suggests. Moreover, I should be happy to meet him and anyone he wants to bring to my Department, with my officials, so that we can take the matter further.