In a written statement published yesterday (25th October) the Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening MP has U-turned on the apprenticeships funding cuts that the Government tried to sneak out on a Friday afternoon in Summer Recess without any form of scrutiny or statement.
The Government have addressed the two main concerns of the #SaveOurApprenticeships campaign that I have led in opposition to the proposed cuts, namely the fact that 16-18 year olds were being penalised and the fact that disadvantaged young people were being hit hardest of all.
This is good news for young people, especially those from disadvantaged and working class backgrounds, and I will continue to hold the Government to account on their promises on social mobility. I have secured a backbench debate on apprenticeships funding on Tuesday 1st November where I will be pushing the Government on the details of these changes and calling for further investment in skills training.
The news was reported by The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, and Huffington Post, well as a range of other media outlets.
Key points of the U-turn include:
Additional 20% payment where training providers train 16-18 year old apprentices (in the August announcement 16-18 year old apprentices suffered the biggest cuts)
“A simplified version of the current system of support for people from disadvantaged areas” and an additional £60m fund to support disadvantaged apprentices (in the August announcement this ‘disadvantage uplift was scrapped altogether)
I published the following statement in response to the news:
“It is nothing short of a disgrace that the Government published their original cuts of up to 50% during summer recess, without any parliamentary scrutiny or even a formal statement.
Today’s U-turn shows that the Government has begun to listen to the further education sector and to the strong opposition from the Labour Party, particularly when it comes to protecting funding for 16-18 year olds and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Apprenticeships have always been seen as the poor relation of higher education, but if this Government is serious about social mobility they must stop damaging the life chances of working class kids by slashing support for apprenticeships and skills training”.