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House of Commons Commission

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 28 October 2021

The hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, was asked—

Apprenticeship Programme

5. What steps the Commission is taking to improve the apprenticeship programme in the House of Commons. (903901)

We have recently appointed a dedicated apprenticeships and early career manager in our in-house resourcing team to focus on building, developing and improving the current apprenticeships scheme. An example of work already under way is the development of our apprenticeships strategy. We are looking at various potential streams of apprentices, including school leavers, targeted external new starters and the upskilling or reskilling of existing staff. We have set a target of 100 apprentices across a variety of disciplines, and we are working to build awareness among existing staff of the career development opportunities available to them.

It is very welcome news that 100 apprentices are being employed across the House of Commons. What is my hon. Friend doing to ensure that we employ apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds, so that they have a chance to climb the House of Commons ladder of opportunity?

My right hon. Friend is respected across the House for the work he has done on behalf of apprenticeships, so I shall say to him that he is going to join me in a meeting with the apprenticeship and early careers manager at the earliest opportunity, so that we can drive forward this House’s shared agenda to get more people from disadvantaged backgrounds working in this place and enjoying this place.

I apologise to the hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant) and to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous), because I have made a mistake. Having called the hon. Member for Lichfield to ask his question, I did not then give the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire the opportunity to answer it. I do apologise. Perhaps the hon. Member for Lichfield could remind us of the gist of his question.

A double showing! This is marvellous, Madam Deputy Speaker. I thought I had already asked my question, but anyway. I was asking whether the recovery fund might be continued, but I think that my hon. Friend answered the question.

As you have invited me to answer, Madam Deputy Speaker, I can say that the Church of England will absolutely carry on pressing the Government to continue with that funding, because it has been so important.