The Skills Minister has admitted the government has ‘a lot of questions that we need to answer’ on the detail of its plans to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020.
It follows a challenge by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth in the Commons (10 March), as she stepped up pressure on Ministers to publish a comprehensive plan to show how it will meet its target.
Following a Commons Statement by Skills Minister Nick Boles, Karin Smyth pointed out to MPs that the government has still to provide information about the planned apprenticeship levy on large businesses; how colleges and other providers will be supported, and how targets will work in practice. The intervention led to Mr Boles indicating such a plan will be published next month.
In the Commons exchange Karin Smyth said: “Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister if he had a delivery plan, or if he was indeed making up this policy as he goes along – as some others have described the delivery policy as ‘iterative and agile’.
“We do still await the details of the levy, how targets will work in practice and indeed how colleges and other providers will be supported to do the important work they need to do. So genuinely in wishing to speak with one voice please can he tell us a little bit more about when will his delivery plan be forthcoming.”
Speaking from the Despatch Box, Nick Boles replied: “She’s right. We do have a lot of questions that we need to answer because we’re making some substantial interventions to meet our target both of numbers and of quality.
If those questions have not been answered fulsomely in the month of April I shall be severely disappointed.”
Following the exchange Karin Smyth said:
“Having challenged the Prime Minister yesterday about the delivery plan, and having not received a satisfactory response, I was again disappointed that the Minister responsible for apprenticeships came to the Commons especially to make a Statement, but that there was nothing new in it.
“Apprenticeships are key to helping unlock the potential of so many of Bristol South’s young people, and I am determined to continue working to ensure my constituency gets its fair share.”
You can watch the intervention and the response here: