MP talks apprenticeships

MP Tristram Hunt met with students and business representative in Stoke on Trent to gain an insight in to apprenticeship delivery in the area, as well as their needs and wants for the future.

The Labour Party politician for Stoke on Trent Central met with representatives from companies including Bentley, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust, at Stoke on Trent College on Friday, December 11th.

He spent time chatting to students, who are currently apprentices with these companies and study at the college one day a week, to learn more about their views on apprenticeships and improvements that can be made by the government moving forwards.

His visit comes after David Cameron unveiled plans earlier this year to ensure apprenticeships are given equal legal treatment as degrees, the creation of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and that public sector bodies will be set targets to help reach 3 million.

The Autumn statement subsequently announced a new apprenticeship levy of 0.5% on company payrolls will raise £3bn a year and fund three million apprenticeships, the chancellor has announced.

Heather Sheldon, Head of Apprenticeships and Workplace Learning at Stoke on Trent College, said: “Tristram was interested in finding out about apprenticeships from employers and apprentices in the area, especially about their needs and wants moving forwards.

“It’s a very important time for apprenticeships, with the introduction of trailblazer, standards, the levy announcements and what the future hold for apprenticeships nationwide generally. Businesses will play a key role in this so it was great for them to have this opportunity and speak to Tristram direct.

“We were pleased to see such a large turnout of businesses and apprenticeship form a wide range of sectors, all passionate about the success of apprenticeship provision moving forwards.”

Level 2 Business Administration Apprentice Reggie Lawrinson, 18, is based at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters in Stone, Staffordshire. He told Tristram: “I initially chose an apprenticeship because I couldn’t fully decide what direction I wanted to go in or if I wanted to go to university.

“The apprenticeship with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue has given me a chance to earn whilst learning new skills. They have helped me with my driving lessons and test, which I passed in September.

“It is fantastic and I still have the option to go to university in the future should I wish.”

Colleague Lydia Hooley,20, is just coming to the end of her Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship with the fire service and talked about how she has now secured a full time position in the Prevent and Protect Department thanks to her experience.

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