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.