Yesterday in Parliament I spoke at the launch of the Save Apprenticeships campaign alongside Shadow Further Education and Skills Minister Gordon Marsden MP, Shadow Secretary of State Angela Rayner MP and many Labour colleagues including Kate Hollern MP, Nic Dakin MP, Catherine McKinnell MP, Catherine West MP, Karin Smyth MP.
Over 100 representatives from the further education and skills sector also heard from Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon MP, who acknowledged the weight of opposition to these planned cuts and stressed that the plans are a consultation.
I pledged to fight the Government's planned cuts of 30-50% (dependent on location) to apprenticeships funding rates tooth and nail. That is my position and I will not rest until the Government U-turns on these damaging and misguided cuts.
These cuts make a mockery of the Prime Minister's promise to “help anybody, whatever your background, go as far as your talents will take you” and create an economy “that works not for a privileged few but not for every one of us”.
In my speech I raised the fact that these cuts are being pushed through immediately following the scrapping of maintenance grants to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who hope to go on to university, further hitting the life chances of working class young people and entrenching the privileges of those from wealthy backgrounds.
My message to the Further Education and Skills sector, and everyone who cares about social mobility and helping young people get on in life and gain the skills they need to embark on a successful career is simple: I won't give up, I will keep fighting and together with Labour colleagues will put pressure on the Government to see sense and back down from these cuts.
For more information on the campaign:
My article for The Guardian outlining my opposition to the cuts.
The Independent article reporting on the letter to Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon MP I organised alongside 50+ colleagues.
FE Week articles on the #SaveOurApprenticeships launch event, the campaign, and an analysis of the cuts.