As Co-Chair of the APPG for Apprenticeships, Jonathan Gullis today welcomed the APPG’s Annual Report into apprenticeships for 2023 at an event in parliament.
With apprenticeships playing an increasingly important role in the economy, with recent analysis from the Chartered Management Insitute finding that apprenticeships will add £7 billion to the economy by 2029, Jonathan has taken a deep interest in how they can best serve his constituents in Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke.
The report produced seven recommendations to enhance post-16 technical education and the future of skills, including:
- Ensure that the functional skills requirement to complete an apprenticeship is not a barrier.
- Improve flexibility and simplicity to make it easier for SMEs to reap the advantages of apprenticeships.
- Limiting red tape for employers and make it a national priority to support SMEs with apprenticeships.
As a key advocate for apprenticeships, Jonathan has hired two apprentices to form part of his constituency office staff from Stoke-on-Trent College, and he is “proud” that the city has seen 13,420 apprenticeship start ups since May 2020, and of that number 56% of starters were female which is above the national average.
This year, Jonathan has already urged the Government to ensure that the apprenticeship underspend can be reallocated to local authorities rather than being sent back to HM Treasury. In February, Jonathan wrote to the Apprenticeships Minister, Robert Halfon, to raise his concerns about the Stoke Sentinel’s reports that over £1 million was being sent back to the Government.
Jonathan said that the report made “serious recommendations” to the Government about how apprenticeships can best “support communities like Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke”. He also said that he looks forward to working "constructively” with the Government in his role as Chair of the Backbench Policy Committee on Education to help tailor apprenticeships to best work for the economy going forward.
Commenting on the report’s launch, Jonathan Gullis and Charlotte Nichols, the Co-Chairs of the APPG, said:
“It is our pleasure to present the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships’ annual report for 2022-23.
“In a year that has brought us three Prime Ministers and three Secretaries of State for Education, it has been a fascinating time for us both to hear from the huge variety of speakers who have joined our meetings.
“This report gathers evidence from our sessions, in addition to data and case studies from some of the UK’s top apprentice employers, to look to the future of apprenticeships provision. It is clear from our findings that further flexibility is needed when it comes to the Levy if we are to continue to see businesses, particularly SMEs, employ and train apprentices to meet the skills needs of the future.
“We will continue in our work to promote best practice for apprenticeships policy, bringing diverse and experienced voices to the table and building cross-party consensus on this most vital of education debates.”