Skip to main content


Volume 607: debated on Monday 14 March 2016

In 2010, we inherited from Labour an unemployment rate of 8%. Since then, we have made excellent progress and the unemployment rate has continued to fall. It is now 5.1 %, which is the lowest rate in a decade.

I thank the Minister for that answer. As I am sure all hon. Members are aware, this week is apprenticeship week. May I therefore ask her what steps are being taken to help to convert apprenticeship places into full-time positions, particularly in my constituency of Derby North?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right—this week is national apprenticeship week. In her area, there have been in excess of 5,000 apprenticeship starts. We are working with employers and have an employer engagement strategy across the Government, to ensure not only that we leverage our work in terms of encouraging more employers to take apprentices, but that apprenticeships are converted into careers—not just full-time jobs, but lifelong careers—for those young people who have the privilege of participating in those schemes.

Many of my constituents work hard in the tourism industry but unfortunately become unemployed at the end of the season. Forward-thinking employers are annualising those seasonal contracts so that people are better able to plan their money and fewer people become unemployed. Will my right hon. Friend tell me what the Government are doing to encourage that good annualising of contracts?

My hon. Friend is right, particularly about seasonal work and seasonal trends in local labour markets. Working with employers is crucial in ensuring that the Department for Work and Pensions and our jobcentres understand the flows and patterns in the local labour market. It is also crucial for us in the Department for Work and Pensions—we are doing this—to work with those individuals who find that seasonal work or changes in hours suit their individual needs and flexibility. Obviously, we work with Jobcentre Plus to ensure that we support people to fill those roles.