Labour leader Ed Miliband has stated that his party will guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver with the equivalent of two A levels by 2020 if it wins this year’s general election.
This will involve an extra 80,000 apprenticeships, 33,000 of which will be accounted for by the HS2 rail project.
The Conservative party has also stated it will fund three million apprenticeships within its pre-election publicity, through additional caps on benefits.
As he outlined Labour’s business policies, Mr Miliband said the key to boosting productivity was improved training and higher wages.
Conservative MP Grant Shapps was quoted by the BBC as saying Labour’s promises were “exactly the same” as those made previously by Gordon Brown, which had not materialised, while also stating that the coalition had “already doubled apprenticeships during this parliament”.
However, business secretary Vince Cable was quoted as admitting that apprenticeships for 16- to 19-year-olds had decreased under the current administration, but added that a number of advanced apprenticeships had been created, which were more appreciated by employers.
Labour claims that the Conservative plan does not offer training at a sufficient level of quality.