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Gloucestershire MP calls for apprenticeship changes

Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, has called for improvements to the apprenticeship levy in the House of Commons.

Speaking yesterday (July 12), the MP who is a big supporter of further education, said she wants to see more apprenticeship starts and improvements made for the benefit of small businesses.

She recommended a report from The Policy Exchange and said that her local college, SGS College in Stroud, had asked her to cover many of the recommendations highlighted in the report.

Ms Baillie said that, over the last five years, £4.3bn has been raised by the levy, which hasn't been spent on apprenticeships.

She quoted a recent report, which said that 430,000 students were interested in apprenticeships, but only 5,000 a year are starting degree equivalent apprenticeship courses.

Ms Baillie said she has recently met young female STEM students from SGS Berkeley Green UTC who were: "desperate for apprenticeships, but they cannot actually find one.

"These are brilliant minded young people. We have to get them into the jobs they want."

She continued: "Learning on the job, we know, is attractive to all ages. Learning at an older stage in an apprenticeship, where you are earning and learning, is really crucial to those of us with families and mortgages, who need or want a career change.

"Yet unfortunately the total number of apprenticeship starts has gone down to about 349,000 in 2021/22. That's significantly below the 393,000 in 2018/19 and lower than the high of 500,000.

"So while the quality has absolutely, definitely gone up, this is something we need to look at, because the starts matter."

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