Yvonne Fovargue MP: Huge contribution made by apprentices

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I am calling on the government to adopt Labour’s plan to create new apprenticeships for young people ahead of National Apprenticeship Week.

National Apprenticeships Week recognises the enormous contribution made by apprentices and their employers in, giving people the chance to earn as they learn and delivering the skills our country needs to prosper.

However, under the Conservatives these training opportunities have been disappearing especially for young people.

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I applaud our local council who have been pro-active in recognising the importance of apprenticeships and securing places for young people to forge a career in local government.

Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

However, across the country and since 2017, total national apprenticeship starts have declined by over 173,000 – 35%.

This trend was seen prior to the pandemic with a decline of 101,500 between 2016/17 and 2018/19.

To reverse this downward trend and secure the skills our country needs for the future, I am calling on the government to introduce a wage subsidy which could have created over 20,000 new apprenticeships in the North West this year.

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This subsidy would be funded from underspent funding in the apprenticeships levy – a charge large employers must pay to government.

Backed by the Association of Employers and Learning Providers (AELP), Labour’s plan could have created 100,000 new apprenticeships for 16-24-year olds across England this year.

I’m pleased to back National Apprenticeship Week, recognising the enormous contribution made by apprentices to our economy and wider society.

The Conservatives have overseen a decline in apprenticeships, failing to secure the skills and training opportunities our country needs.

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Instead of focusing on creating new opportunities for young people and tackling the skills shortages across key sectors of the UK economy, this government is distracted by scandals at the heart of Downing Street.

I share the concern about evidence suggesting children are increasingly being exposed to pornography online, and that this can have damaging impacts on their development.

I support a mechanism to protect under-18s from accessing online pornography. It is vital that action is taken to keep our children safe online.

The Online Safety Bill is due to be introduced to Parliament soon and the Government has published a draft of the Bill for scrutiny.

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This proposed legislation is long overdue. I am, however, concerned that the measures we have seen in the draft Bill are insufficient and incomplete, and I share the NSPCC’s belief that they do little to ensure children are safe online.

I also believe there is little to incentivise companies to prevent their platforms from being used for harmful practices.

This long-awaited legislation must tackle legal but harmful content and put in place a robust framework so that everyone can use the internet safely, particularly children.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle dangerous elements of the Internet with real-world consequences.

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I do not believe that the Government’s response so far has been sufficiently ambitious.

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