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Apprentices: West Yorkshire

Question for Department for Education

UIN 176113, tabled on 25 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to encourage the uptake of apprenticeships among teenagers and young people in (a) Wakefield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Answered on

14 April 2021

Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start an exciting career in a wide range of industries, everything from artificial intelligence, archaeology, data science, business management, and banking. We want more young people across the country to benefit from high-quality apprenticeships. Since May 2010, there have been 36,640 apprenticeship starts in Wakefield (local authority).

To encourage more young people to consider apprenticeships, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools across the country through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships. In the Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January, we announced the introduction of a 3-point-plan to enforce the Baker Clause, our requirement that all maintained schools and academies provide opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit schools to talk to all year 8 to 13 pupils. This includes creating clear minimum legal requirements, specifying who is to be given access to which pupils and when. This is an important step towards real choice for every pupil.

We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person. We have made a special provision to allow employers taking on Kickstarters as apprentices to be eligible for the incentive payment, which will increase to £3000 from 1 April 2021 until September 2021, supporting a pathway between the schemes.

In addition, we are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training to develop the skills, experience, and confidence to obtain an apprenticeship. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed an additional £126 million at the Budget to fund a further 40,000 traineeship places in the 2021/22 academic year, and we have extended the £1000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placement opportunities to July 2022. We are taking several steps to raise awareness of traineeships among young people. We have created a new online collection of free resources for schools including factsheets, case studies and a guide for teachers. We are also working with the National Careers Service and DWP to ensure that young people across the country understand the different options available to them and are supported on the right path.