• Thursday, June 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak pledges 100,000 new apprenticeships annually

Sunak’s Conservative Party is trailing the opposition Labour Party in most opinion polls by around 20 percentage points.

The pledge is to create 100,000 new apprenticeships per year by the end of the next five-year parliament. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party has announced a plan to create 100,000 more high-skilled apprenticeship places per year by 2029 if it wins the national election on 4 July.

The party aims to replace the “worst performing” degrees, which it considers a “rip-off” due to high drop-out rates and poor job prospects, reported BBC.

Britain’s economy is experiencing slow growth, partly due to poor productivity and a labour shortage. Employers often report a mismatch between the skills needed and the skills available among British workers. Apprenticeships are seen as a way to bridge this gap and generate high-paying jobs in growth industries.

The Conservatives said former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s ambition to get half of young people going to university had “led to low-value degrees ballooning,” reported BBC.

The pledge is to create 100,000 new apprenticeships per year by the end of the next five-year parliament.

In the 2022/23 academic year, there were 337,100 new apprenticeship starts in England, according to a parliamentary research briefing, reported Reuters.

The Conservatives said meeting the pledge would cost £885 million in 2029/30. To fund this, they would close poorly performing university courses, saving money on loans and redirecting funds to employment or courses with better outcomes, according to a briefing document.

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Sunak’s Conservative Party is trailing the opposition Labour Party in most opinion polls by around 20 percentage points, suggesting it is on course to lose power after 14 years in government.

An existing apprenticeship scheme, funded by a levy on large employers, has been criticised by some industries as overly complicated and poorly administered, Reuters reported.

The Labour Party wants to make the existing scheme more flexible and on Tuesday outlined plans to spur economic growth and business investment.

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