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Mayor's apprenticeship programme "failing young people"

-                      Only 96,500 of Boris Johnson’s 250,000 apprenticeships target have been delivered despite 2016 deadline approaching

-                      Almost half the apprenticeships in London went to over 25s according to most recent figures

Labour’s London Assembly Economic Spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM has accused the Mayor’s apprenticeship programme of ‘utterly failing young people’ after the latest figures showed the Mayor is set to miss his target to create 250,000 apprenticeships between 2012 and 2016. Of the 96,500 apprenticeships started between 2012 and 2014 almost half (44%) went to people over the age of 25 as a result of Government changes which effectively reclassified some in-work training schemes as apprenticeships.

The criticism coincides with the start of National Apprenticeship Week which runs from the 9th to 13th March. With Government statistics showing that only 96,500 apprenticeships were started in the capital between April 2012-June 2014, Ms Twycross warned that the Mayor had a “vast mountain to climb” if he was to hit his target of 250,000 by May 2016.

An age breakdown of those starting London apprenticeships found that in 2012/13, 48% of apprenticeships went to those over 25 years of age. In 2013/14 the percentage was still 40%. This is almost double the 19% of apprenticeships which went to over 25’s in 2009/10, before the Government re-categorised some types of in-company training as apprenticeships. According to a recent report from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 93% of apprentices over the age of 25 already worked for their employer prior to starting an ‘apprenticeship’ under the new system – a problem the education charity the Edge Foundation described as “deadweight – that is, subsidies for training that would have happened anyway.”

Labour’s London Assembly Economic Spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM said:

“Boris Johnson has a vast mountain to climb if he is going to come anywhere near delivering the quarter of a million apprenticeships he promised Londoners by 2016.

“Even with those apprenticeships which are being created, almost half of them are going to people over 25 years old and already in work. Whilst it’s important to support people to develop their careers, this approach leaves the apprenticeship programme utterly failing young people.

“The Government’s gerrymandering of the apprenticeship system has meant in-work training which would have happened anyway is gobbling up the limited subsidies. This is locking out young people desperately seeking an apprenticeship to give them a first step on the career ladder.”

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