Speaking at the biennial conference of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) in Lancashire, Unite assistant general secretary, Tony Burke has called for action on skills to boost manufacturing and encourage young people into this worthwhile sector.
Mr Burke called for a new skills eco system in the UK based on five principles:
- Well paid, long term apprenticeships lasting between two and 3½ years that provide real skills rather than short term apprenticeships that only tick boxes
- A skills system that starts out helping young people look into manufacturing apprenticeships and a decent job for the future
- A system of ensuring talent retention where skilled workers who face job losses don’t get thrown on the scrapheap
- The need to attract more young women into manufacturing apprenticeships
- A need for the reintroduction of the careers service in schools.
Tony Burke said:"Decent, skilled apprenticeships today will translate into the skilled workforce of tomorrow - that should be the goal for British manufacturing.
“In the UK we have a skills deficit which was created because, even in the good times, the UK failed to take on enough young people in skilled apprenticeships.
“We need more genuine apprenticeships which should be equivalent to a degree and we need to work hard to convince parents that apprenticeships in manufacturing are worthwhile.
“The UK needs more women working in manufacturing and we also need to work hard to ensure that schools understand the value of apprenticeships. Only then can the UK have a genuine resurgence in manufacturing.”
The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions is the umbrella union for manufacturing unions. Unite, GMB, Prospect, TSSA, Community and Ucatt affiliate to the CSEU. The union negotiates with employers, signs national agreements, engages with government and campaigns for manufacturing jobs.
This year's CSEU biennial conference is taking place at the Southport Convention Centre, Southport, Lancashire, PR9 0DZ.
Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.