Norfolk MP calls for ‘compulsory offering’ of apprenticeship schemes
PUBLISHED: 10:31 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:31 01 July 2020
A Norfolk MP has urged the government to ensure a “wider compulsory offering” of apprenticeship schemes to boost the rural economy in the face of the impact of the coronavirus.
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, raised the issue of challenges faced by the rural economy and “that longing we all have to stay where we grew up” in the House of Commons on Monday, June 29.
During a question session with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Conservative MP said: “My constituency of North Norfolk is rural and faces many challenges. It is heavily reliant on the tourism sector and without the fat of a full summer season to get through, it could struggle into the winter.”
And he added: “Particularly for younger people, what steps is the minister able to take to see wider compulsory offering of apprenticeship schemes to enable younger people to stay in a good job, stay in the area they grew up in, and all of that longing we all have to stay where we grew up?”
Mims Davies, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for employment, said enabling the country’s young people to “earn while they learn” was a priority for her and the department.
She said: “Supporting our young people is a priority for me in this job and apprenticeships are a great way for young people to start their careers giving them that crucial opportunity to earn while they learn.”
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And she said the government was ready to back businesses to hire and teach apprentices.
She added: “Alongside the Department for Education (DfE), we are at the DWP supporting employers, especially small businesses, to take on new apprentices this year, and we will provide further detail in due course.
“We’ll also ensure there is sufficient funding this year to support small businesses also wanting to take this up.”
It came just days after Mr Baker spoke in the House about the work of young carers during lockdown,
He said: “During the lockdown I spoke to some young carers, and it made me wonder whether we knew enough about these young children, who, day in, day out, support their parents at home.”
He said: “Imagine a five-year-old climbing on a stool to boil a kettle to make a drink for their parent who is incapacitated. These young people must not be forgotten.
“They are not getting a proper childhood.”
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