Skip to main content

Civil Service: Apprenticeships

Volume 724: debated on Thursday 8 December 2022

17. What steps his Department is taking to increase apprenticeship opportunities in the civil service. (902681)

We launched our new three-year civil service apprenticeship strategy back in April 2022. The civil service is committed to having 5% of staff as apprentices by 2025, and we have already recruited more than 3,600 new apprentices for the first half of this financial year.

In Southend, the brilliant South Essex College works in close partnership with our equally brilliant Essex chamber of commerce to maximise apprenticeship opportunities across Southend. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the civil service could learn from this excellent example of public-private partnership to increase apprenticeships in the new powerhouse that is the city of Southend?

It is always a pleasure to hear the city of Southend referred to in this place; it brings back happy memories of our friend.

The private sector in Southend West does a brilliant job of promoting apprenticeships, with South Essex College working with the Essex chamber of commerce. I am sure that there are things we can learn. We are determined to progress our own plans for apprentices. They are going well and we can take them forward, but if my hon. Friend has any tips, I would be delighted to meet her and discuss what is happening in the city of Southend.

The Cabinet Office already runs a care leavers’ apprenticeship scheme, which is very welcome, but many care leavers are unable to afford to get on the housing ladder and rent their first property, because they are not able to access a deposit. Will the Minister share the experience and expertise of the Cabinet Office in supporting care leavers across Government? It is sometimes awkward for care leavers to interact with Health, Education and Work and Pensions systems, for example, and they are not able to rely on the financial support of parents, especially in renting their first property. Will the Minister agree to meet me and care leavers from Plymouth to discuss what best practice can be shared so that every care leaver can have the best possible start in adulthood?

That is an interesting idea. I am more than happy to agree to meet the hon. Gentleman and to hear what he has to say, and we will take it from there.