The armed forces are one of this country’s biggest providers of apprenticeships. They have around 21,000 apprentices on programmes at any one time, ranging from engineering and digital to construction and driving, showing that if you join the armed forces, you get skills for life.
I thank my hon. Friend for all the work that the Ministry of Defence is doing on apprenticeships. Can I confirm that his Department will continue to meet the public sector target of 2.3% for the hiring of apprentices? Will he also ensure that any company that gets a procurement contract with the Ministry of Defence employs a significant number of apprentices, and that otherwise it will not get the contract?
I am delighted to confirm that. Over 90% of recruits are offered an apprenticeship, and I am pleased to confirm that recent statistics show that 7.9% of our headcount are new apprentice starts, exceeding the Government public sector target of 2.3%. We have ongoing discussions with the Department for Education to increase that figure.