THE NUMBER of people starting apprenticeships in Redditch has fallen for the first time in four years.
During 2013/14 there were 890 people starting apprenticeships in the area down by a fifth from the previous year’s record high of 1,120.
Of those training positions created 240 were in law, 230 in manufacturing, 200 in health, public services and care and 130 in the enterprise sector.
Despite the drop there has still been an extra 2,120 apprenticeships created during the first four years of the coalition government compared to 1,760 over the last five years of the previous Labour administration.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who has been a keen supporter of apprenticeships, called the figures ‘staggeringly good’.
“To have almost 1,000 new apprenticeships every year since the last election means many more young people kick-starting their careers and getting on in life.” she said.
“It is slowly becoming the norm that young people get the choice of an apprenticeship, as well as that of going to university when they leave school, but there is still much more to be done. Far too many young people still believe that going to University is the only way to make a success of your life.
“We must do all we can to show young people that apprenticeships can provide them with much needed experience and will often lead to a full-time job. They also bring real value to the businesses that take them on by allowing them to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.”
But Labour have criticised the value of some of the apprenticeships created under the coalition government.
On a visit to Redditch last year Rachel Reeves MP, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions told the Standard they were not of high enough quality to deliver the skills businesses needed.
Over the last four years in the West Midlands region 17,500 apprenticeships have been created in the engineering and manufacturing technologies sector while more than 22,000 have been started in the retail, commerce and enterprise sector.