Manchester needs greater control over its apprentices, claims council leader

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, has hit out against the government, claiming that the devolution plans have not given the city enough control over its apprenticeships.


Greater political power

During his first post-election speech in May, chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged that English cities will soon receive more decision making powers and additional funding.

In Manchester’s case, the city secured a deal in November which will see it receive a £300m housing investment fund and the right to elect a major. Leese said that a major would give Manchester a ‘‘full-time political capacity.’’

In two years’ time, Manchester will have more power regarding housing, transport, planning and policing.


Control over apprenticeships

Leese, who has been in charge of the city council since 1964, has said that the devolution plans won’t give them sufficient control over apprenticeships.

‘‘We are constrained by national rules at the moment and don’t think devolution currently will give us the freedoms that we need around apprenticeships,’’ Sir Richard Leese explained in an interview with Construction News.

‘‘That’s something we need to continue arguing for: to get that control over apprenticeships that would allow us to have an offer that is far better geared up to what the industry needs and what young people are looking for.’’

Young people now are largely staying in full-time education until they are 18 years old and the industry itself tends to prefer slightly more mature apprentices, so if we can put those two things together that will help us enormously.”