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Portsmouth MP votes to ensure every young person is ‘ready for work’ as city faces steep skills drop

Stephen Morgan MP voted in the House of Commons today to ensure every child in Portsmouth is ‘ready for work’, as city faces a skills shortage.

Since 2015, the number of apprenticeships starts in Portsmouth has fallen by 42% – equivalent to 900 fewer apprenticeships over the last six years. According to the latest data from the Department for Education, only 1,220 people in Portsmouth started an apprenticeship in 2020/21, compared to 2,120 in 2015/16.

Nationally, there has been a drop of almost 200,000 in the number of people starting an apprenticeship over the last decade.

Ahead of its final stages in the House of Commons today, Labour said the government’s Skills Bill would ‘create new structures and bureaucracies, but will do little to tackle the major skills shortages in key sectors including, health and social care, manufacturing or engineering’.

Labour tabled changes to the government bill to:

  • require face to face careers guidance for every pupil and two weeks’ worth of compulsory work experience, highlighting Labour’s Ready for Work Ready for Life policies announced at our Annual Conference;
  • ensure Mayoral Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities are part of drawing up Local Skills Improvement Plans alongside Employer Representative Bodies;
  • establish a 4-year moratorium on Level 3 qualifications;
  • require IFATE to perform a review of the operation of the apprenticeship levy;
  • ensure Employer Representative Bodies have a requirement to have strategies for people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Our apprentices make an enormous contribution to our city’s economy and wider society, but Government is not doing enough to support local young people after a decade of decline.

“Ministers should adopt Labour’s plan to create thousands of new apprenticeships this year, securing the opportunities young people need to gain productive skills and support our economy to prosper.

“I’ve seen first-hand the power of apprenticeships to transform lives after talking with apprentices and employers. That’s why I voted to boost opportunities for local young people and help secure our economy post-pandemic.”

The City MP visited BAE Systems at HMNB Portsmouth last week, which is running an early careers and apprenticeship programme for young people as part of its ‘skills agenda’. The Portsmouth MP also met with young people who are out of work and employers attending the local Jobcentre’s recruitment event last Thursday.