Celebrating apprenticeships | Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column
and live on Freeview channel 276
From the young engineers who will be designing and building the next-generation aeroplanes, to budding accountants, lab technicians, digital marketers.
And then the plumbers, electricians and construction workers who are starting their journey in learning skills that will set them up for a prosperous future.
I’m passionate about apprenticeships, not just because I think education is a vital component in the mission to level up Burnley and Padiham but also because of the enormous appeal of them as a way to learn.
They offer a unique blend of on-the-job training, with a wage, and college-based learning.
All of this means those with experience can pass on the skills and techniques that have led them to become masters in their field.
Down in Westminster I’ve been actively making this case to the Department of Education, championing the work of those organisations within our borough who are doing so much to facilitate an increase in apprenticeships, and making it known we can go further.
And the government gets it too.
As part of the Plan for Jobs the Chancellor put even more money into the incentives for businesses to take on an apprentice, with this now worth up to £4,000. That’s money that can help fund training and wages.
For local businesses that’s a clear investment in future talent, supported by government, and giving the ability to grow and thrive in the future.
On Thursday the Minister for Further Education, The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, joined me at Burnley College for a roundtable with local business, the college and apprentices to have exactly that discussion.
Not just what’s working, but what more do we need to do. And of course, as the Minister responsible for the latest wave of Institutes of Technology we couldn’t bring her up without showing off the incredible facilities we have locally at the college.
As one of the new IoT partners, Burnley College has exciting plans for investment which will mean our young people get world class skills and it was great to talk this through with government.
It was also a pleasure to attend the annual Themis Inspire and Achieve Awards later that evening at Burnley Football Club where industry leaders and apprentices gathered to celebrate the achievements over the past year with awards for those who have excelled over the last 12 months.
Present were local employers, training providers and apprentices both new and former, who came together to lay out the importance this type of education provides, whilst raising the profile of businesses and organisations who use training and apprenticeships to move themselves and their sector forwards.
With the news this week that we now have more apprentices in a trade, more places available and more funding for training, it’s clear we are taking the necessary steps to create the parity that university education and apprenticeships deserve.
But we also need to remember that this is a task that requires year-round attention. And so, as the celebration week comes to a close, I will be continuing to do everything I can to promote these life-changing opportunities within our borough.
To support Burnley College, our secondary schools and careers advisers at every turn to ensure young people get offered the course and route that’s best for them. I would encourage anybody who is interested to take a look at the vast amount of opportunities that are on offer by visiting www.burnley.ac.uk/themis-home.