The All Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships is a cross-party group of MPs and Peers which provides a forum for parliamentarians and employers to discuss how to promote the role of high quality apprenticeships.
The Group works to ensure that apprenticeships serve as a pathway to a career and how the apprenticeship model can meet the changing skill demands from businesses. The Group has heard from all the top apprenticeship experts, including recent Ministers or Skills, top civil servants and business groups but most importantly from apprentices themselves.
In July 2020, the Group launched its Annual Report with the following key recommendations:
Co-Chair: Karin Smyth MP, Labour, Bristol South
Since her election as MP for Bristol South in 2015, Karin Smyth has been a strong advocate of apprenticeships. She has frequently called for more SMEs to provide apprenticeships and the importance of providing better careers advice. In April 2020, Karin was appointed Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland.
For four years running, Karin has worked with the Department for Work and Pensions, Bristol City Council and City of Bristol College to host an apprenticeships fair, following National Apprenticeship Week in February. She is passionate about championing this agenda and supporting quality apprenticeships.
Co-Chair: Jack Lopresti MP
Conservative, Filton and Bradley Stoke
Jack Lopresti was first elected as MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke in 2010. He has had a long and varied career as a local councillor and army reservist, after working in his family ice cream business for over ten years after leaving school. Jack Lopresti has served on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Armed Forces Bill Committee and Defence Committee. Jack was the Chair of the APPG on Apprenticeships in 2015 and has frequently advocated for apprentices in the Commons.
Despite years of repeated warm words and commitments, it’s clear the Government has failed to resolve the skills crisis facing UK plc, with studies suggesting as many as nine out of ten firms across the country struggle to recruit the skilled workforce they need.
Even with the highest level of unemployment and lowest level of employment of any English region, many businesses in my own part of the world – the North East – continue to report difficulties in recruiting the right staff, and regularly raise concerns about the mismatch that persists between the skills available in the labour market and the needs of local firms.
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