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Volume 588: debated on Thursday 20 November 2014

Is the Minister aware that the Construction Industry Training Board and the National Construction college in my constituency have trained a record number of apprentices over the last year? Is he also aware that the current governing statute is not fit for purpose and needs to be updated so that it can enter into joint ventures with both the public and private sectors, training even more apprentices? Will he look at this important reform and have it on the agenda when he meets the chief executive officer, the chairman and hopefully me as well?

As my hon. Friend knows, a triennial review of the training board is currently drawing to a conclusion. The issue that he raised is certainly one of those that will be considered, and one which I will discuss with the board’s members, not least because my hon. Friend has drawn it to my attention so insistently.

Will the Minister consider what more can be done to use and benefit smaller training providers such as Power in Partnership in my constituency? Such providers focus on helping young people who may not be attracted to a classroom-type environment into training and then into apprenticeships. Surely we can do more in this regard.

I entirely agree. It is important for us to provide training opportunities through a range of organisations, including social enterprises, businesses and charities, as well as institutional further education colleges and the like. It is particularly important for us to provide training that is linked to work, either through the new programme of traineeships developed by my predecessor, who is now Minister for Business and Enterprise, or through apprenticeships. If there is anything that I can do to help any specific institution in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, I shall be delighted to try to do it.

Will the Minister speak to his colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions about helping apprentices who are made redundant when a firm fails? A local training provider in my constituency has taken on apprentices who are in that position and is helping them through it, but is experiencing difficulties and is unable to give them any income. There seems to be a gap in the system.

I met the Minister for Employment, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), only yesterday to discuss a range of issues, and I should be happy to discuss that issue with her as well. There needs to be tight co-ordination between our two Departments, and we try to achieve it.