Last Friday the Government (via the Skills Funding Agency) published its proposed funding rates for apprenticeships from 2017 onwards, revealing cuts of around 30% for 16-18 year old apprentices, rising to over 50% for apprentices living in the most deprived areas.
I spoke to FE Week about these cuts and you can read the piece here: 'Former minister asks PM why she is 'shafting' future of young people with apprenticeship reforms'.
The impact of these funding cuts will be devastating in deprived areas like Tottenham, where unemployment rates are already almost double the national average.
These cuts also hugely undermine the Government’s pledge to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and entirely contradict the Prime Minister’s promise to boost social mobility and create an economy that works for the many, not just the few.
I am extremely worried that these proposed funding rates will see many providers vastly reduce the number of apprenticeships that they offer to young people or even withdraw provision altogether, a move that would be disastrous for young people in my constituency and across the country.
The removal of the disadvantage uplift for an apprentice living in a deprived area is particularly worrying. After years of swingeing austerity that has hit people living in the most deprived areas hardest, the Government needs to be doing much more to help young people from working class and low income backgrounds into skilled employment instead of cutting funding rates for apprenticeships.