Shadow business secretary accuses Tory government of ‘dumbing down apprenticeships’

Angela Eagle, business secretary for the Labour party, has used its annual general conference to hit out at the Conservative’s, claiming that David Cameron and co are ‘dumbing down apprenticeships.’


The Tories ‘threaten economic growth’

The party conference is a first for Eagle in her position as business secretary, and it’s also a first for Jeremy Corbyn in his role as party leader.

Ms Eagle used the conference in Brighton to air her views about the education sector and how it’s been treated under the Conservatives.

‘‘This Tory government is also presiding over a skills emergency which threatens economic growth,’’ commented Eagle, who largely focused her speech on the government’s trade union bill, but had taken time to speak about apprenticeships.

‘‘Success in the 21st Century means partnering with business to make the most of all our talent. Yet more than two thirds of businesses now need more high-skilled staff. In construction, manufacturing, in science, engineering, technology, the skills shortage is at its worst.’’

‘‘And so what is the government answer to this challenge? They’ve cut FE budgets, they’re failing young people on vocational qualifications and they’re dumbing down apprenticeships.’’

‘‘Our young people deserve more than this ideologically-driven recipe of cuts and neglect.’’

Eagle has been in the position for only three weeks but is already planning to meet a number of UK learning providers who have requested a meeting to discuss the future of apprenticeships under a potential Labour leadership.

‘‘I’m looking forward to working with Labour’s new shadow cabinet on promoting policies that deliver a truly lifelong learning society where high quality apprenticeships are as visible and attractive as going to university,’’ stated David Hughes, chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).