Peter Aldous calls for businesses to take the lead in increasing apprenticeships

10th November 2015

Peter Aldous praises the work of the Apprenticeships Suffolk Business Service which is run by the chamber of commerce and county council. He calls on the Government to ensure businesses themselves play a major role in increasing the number and qualtiy of apprenticeships.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What proportion of businesses in England employ an apprentice. [902093]

The Minister for Skills (Nick Boles): I am sorry to detain you yet further, Mr Speaker.

Data from the 2014 UK Commission for Employment and Skills employer perspectives survey showed that, in England, about 15% of establishments have offered formal apprenticeships. When we introduce the apprenticeship levy in 2017, we expect that percentage to increase significantly.

Mr Speaker: Quite why the Minister supposes that I find it anything other than joyous to sample his mellifluous tones I frankly cannot fathom. I am not being detained by anybody; my duty is to be in the Chamber, and I shall always be here.

Peter Aldous: The Apprenticeships Suffolk Business Service has been formed by the chamber of commerce and the county council, and it is already delivering many more apprenticeships. Will my hon. Friend do all he can to ensure that businesses themselves play the major role in increasing the number and quality of apprenticeships?

Nick Boles: I am really delighted that Suffolk authorities and the chamber of commerce have created that service. A number of authorities around the country have created similar things—apprenticeship hubs and the like—and such interventions by local authorities are incredibly worth while. My hon. Friend is absolutely right that, ultimately, we want employers to take control of this: we want employers to develop standards, as the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) mentioned earlier, to control the funding and to ensure that more people get the opportunity of an apprenticeship.

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