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Volume 614: debated on Monday 12 September 2016

14. What steps he is taking to ensure support for quality apprenticeships and training programmes through current and future defence procurement. (906252)

The MOD is proud to be one of the largest providers of quality apprenticeships in the UK, and indeed the largest in Government, having delivered over 150,000 apprenticeships. We work closely across both Government and industry to develop apprenticeship standards, helping to build and maintain key defence skills across the country.

With major defence and infrastructure projects on the horizon, now is the wrong time for the Government to be cutting funding for apprenticeships. What guarantees can the Minister give that quality apprenticeships will be protected by his Department going forward?

We stand by our record. We have delivered over 150,000 apprenticeships. Any new recruit joining the armed forces is enrolled on an apprenticeship scheme, and that will continue.

The Minister knows that logistics is an incredibly important area for the military and armed forces. It is also vital for other parts of the economy, and essential in refugee work. Will the Minister increase apprenticeships in logistics and ensure their quality?

The MOD offers a number of logistics apprenticeships including driving goods vehicles, roadside assistance and recovery, and international trade and logistics. However, I recognise the importance of logistics to the armed forces and efforts to address skills shortages in this area need to be balanced with other areas, but I will certainly look at what my hon. Friend says.

23. I am sure the Minister would agree that participation in one of our cadet forces is one of the best apprenticeships available through the MOD. We have a wonderful sea cadets group in the Rhondda. Now that the MOD is vacating Pentre barracks in the Rhondda, why on earth is it putting it up for auction on the open market rather than simply giving it to the sea cadets? (906262)

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will support this Government’s programme to extend cadet forces to 500 by 2020. Equally, he will appreciate that we have very strict rules when it comes to the disposal of defence property, but I am happy to look into what he says.