Providing our young people with the best start to get on in life and have a rewarding career is an area close to my heart. Apprenticeships can give young people this opportunity to learn valuable skills while earning at the same time, and as a MP I have led from the front in championing apprenticeships. I was the first MP to employ a full time apprentice in my Westminster office and I helped to secure £10 million of government funding to build a new state of the art University Technical College in Harlow.
It is fantastic that locally there has been over 3,700 new apprenticeships that have started. Especially during the last Parliament, we saw the biggest ever increase with over two million people starting an apprenticeship. We have also ensured that it is easier for businesses to hire apprentices. As of next year, the employers’ National Insurance contributions for apprenticeships, for people under the age of 25, will be abolished.
The Government is committed to going further and delivering three million more apprenticeships by 2020. To ensure high quality training, the Government will introduce an apprenticeship levy on all large firms and those that offer apprenticeships can get more back than they put in. The money will be directly controlled by employers and the Government will work with businesses on how to do this.
University Technical College
I am a big supporter of the Sir Charles Kao University Technical College in Harlow. I spent over two years working with local businesses, Harlow College and Anglia Ruskin University to persuade the Government to invest in this Pre-Apprentice School, and I was overwhelmed with pride when it was opened in September 2014. The school focuses on med-tech, engineering and computing and is open to students aged 14 to 19.
Shortly after its opening, I asked the Leader of the House William Hague about the University Technical College in the House of Commons.
You can visit the UTC website here to find out more.
I was the first MP to ever have an apprentice working with them in Parliament, you can read more about this here, and I’m very proud that a Parliamentary Apprentice Scheme is now in place and many other MPs have followed suit.
Through Harlow College, I have hired three apprentices over the time I have been MP who have all gone on to great success from continuing their education at University or moving straight into a job in the House of Lords.
Interviews are underway for my next apprentice and I look forward to welcoming them to my team in Parliament!