Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves and Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds have visited Dudley manufacturer Thomas Dudley and called for the creation of thousands of new apprenticeships.
They were joined by Dudley North Labour candidate Ian Austin to meet manufacturing apprentices at Thomas Dudley and hear about the firm’s role in improving manufacturing skills in the region.
Austin has worked closely with Dudley College, Aston University and local manufacturers including Thomas Dudley to support the construction of Dudley Advance, a new centre offering advanced manufacturing training.
Labour is aiming to get as many school leavers into apprenticeships as currently go to university, with guaranteed apprenticeships for students that get the grades. The party plans to create new apprenticeships by giving businesses greater control over apprenticeship funding, forcing large firms to take on a British apprenticeship for every skilled foreign worker they take on and by creating at least one apprenticeship for every £1 million spent on big government projects like HS2.
Ian Austin said:
“I think we need to make education Dudley’s number one priority to attract new businesses and jobs to replace the ones that we’ve lost.
“Thomas Dudley is making a huge contribution by working with schools, taking on apprentices and working with Dudley College to train local people in manufacturing skills.
“A Labour government would get help local firms create even more apprenticeships so we can get as many school leavers taking apprenticeships as go to university.”
Rachel Reeves said:
“Young people are now nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. And since 2010 young people’s wages have fallen faster than the rest of the population, leaving them £1760 a year worse off. The Tory plan is failing young people.
“It's great to see how the Thomas Dudley foundry's apprenticeship scheme is giving young people to chance to learn and earn through apprenticeships. A Labour government will guarantee apprenticeships for every school leaver in England who gets the grades by 2020.
“And we will tackle low pay in Dudley by raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour, giving tax rebates to firms who pay their staff a living wage and banning exploitative zero hours contracts.”