HL Deb 10 July 2002 vol 637 cc91-2WA
Lord Jones

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures they have taken to make available more apprenticeships within the United Kingdom's manufacturing base. [HL4741]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

The Government are firmly committed to their Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme across all sectors, including manufacturing in England. We have demonstrated that by first commissioning and then, jointly with the Learning and Skills Council, accepting the recommendations of the Modern Apprenticeship Advisory Committee chaired by Sir John Cassels, which reported last September. In doing so we will be able to both raise quality and expand the number of opportunities available.

In particular, we have agreed a target of having over a quarter of 16–21 year olds following the MA route by 2004. In addition, that year we will fulfil our manifesto commitment to an entitlement to an MA place for 16–17 year olds with certain minimum qualifications. To ensure that we have sufficient places available to meet the expected demand we have also announced a major three year marketing campaign aimed at young people, employers and others. The next phase of the campaign begins on 5 August. In order to fulfil our commitments both to expand MA and improve quality we have allocated an additional £180 million over the three financial years from 2001–04.

The Learning and Skills Council in England determines the allocation of MA places for each sector based on local labour market needs. Manufacturing MAs continue to be one of the most popular options for young people. Indeed in terms of the numbers of young people pursuing them, the three largest Advanced Modern Apprenticeship programmes are in manufacturing.