A new skills eco-system to deliver apprenticeships providing young people with skilled jobs and a real future was called for by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today (Thursday 14 March).
In UK national apprenticeship week and commenting on today’s response by the government to the Richard Review of apprenticeships, Len McCluskey said: “A million of our young people are being condemned to a life on the dole and benefits, when what they really need is skilled jobs with a real future.
“Unite believes that the UK needs a new skills eco-system which will provide top quality skilled apprenticeships, importantly underpinned by employed status and essential work based learning, similar to the highly successful German dual vocational system.
“This will ensure that that industry develops and maintains a long-term and sustainable skills base, particularly in manufacturing and construction where the nation is facing a skills cliff edge.
“The UK will face future skills shortages if we don’t change direction as a matter of urgency. To not act will be to the detriment of the people, our economy and the very fabric of the nation’s infrastructure and built environment.”
Unite stressed that it will keep ‘a watchful eye’ on indications by ministers to redefine national standards with regard to apprenticeships. Much good practice already exists in sectors with a long tradition of apprenticeship provision - agreed between employers, trade unions, industry bodies and sector skills councils.
This is, especially, the case in the craft and engineering sectors, where the structure is in place to meet the needs of all sizes of organisations, from SMEs through to large major companies within quality frameworks.
These must not be undermined, so the devil will be in the detail of what the government actually intends to implement.
Unite will be analysing today’s government response and will be replying to the government request for responses from industry and stakeholders.
Notes to editors:
The full government press release: Employers design their own apprenticeships.
The full Richard Review report on the Future of apprenticeships in England (46 page PDF).
Unite’s September 2012 submission to the Richard Review of apprenticeships (17 page PDF)
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.