It is a statement of fact that every Labour government has left office with higher unemployment than when they took office, including the last one from 1997 to 2010.
By contrast, one of the big successes of the current Conservative-led government has been the creation of an extra 1.85 million jobs, meaning that the UK now has record levels of employment.
While being pleased about this success, we should never get complacent. In a global and rapidly evolving economy, it is essential that British people have the right skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow as well as for the jobs of today. This particularly applies to our young people who were so badly let down by Labour when they were last in government, with one million young people being abandoned as NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training).
The good news is that youth unemployment in Crawley is now at a record low and that we Conservatives are placing a great emphasis on apprenticeships. Last week the Prime Minister launched the new ‘degree apprenticeships’ so that young people can earn a degree whilst training on the job. We want all our young people to reach their potential and to be equipped with the skills they need to get on in life. By combining real, paid work with high quality training, apprenticeships can help our young people get on the career ladder.
Since 2010, we have already delivered over two million apprenticeships and are committed to delivering a further three million by 2020. The new ‘degree apprenticeships’ take this to the next level. Designed by businesses, universities and colleges these combine the academic study of a degree with the practical experience of high-skilled jobs. Apprentices will be able to earn bachelor’s or even a master’s degrees as part of their apprenticeship.
Equipping people with the skills they need to get on in life and backing businesses to create jobs are key parts of our long-term economic plan. These degree apprenticeships will help build a Britain where everyone has the reward of a meaningful job and a decent standard of living.