Lib Dems commit to doubling apprenticeship numbers

At the end of a week when the major parties have all published their manifestos, the prospects for apprenticeships are becoming clearer. Earlier in the week, the Liberal Democrats revealed that they plan to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices as well as tightening up on how funds raised by the Apprenticeship Levy are used by businesses.

If elected, the Lib Dems have promised to:

  • Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by extending apprenticeships to new sectors of our economy such as creative and digital industries.
  • Develop national colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors, such as renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that businesses need.
  • Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors and encourage under-represented groups to apply.
  • Identify and seek to solve skills gaps – for example the lack of advanced technicians – by expanding higher vocational training such as foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships.
  • Ensure that all the receipts from the Apprenticeship Levy in England are spent on training, aiming to fund a wider range of types of training.
  • Aim to meet all basic skills needs including literacy, numeracy and digital skills by 2030.
  • Create individual accounts for funding mature adult and part-time learning and training, and provide for all adults individual access to all necessary career information, advice and guidance.
  • Facilitate across the UK an effective and comprehensive system for credit transfer and recognition of prior learning and qualifications.

These commitments, the party says, are nothing new. A Liberal Democrats spokesperson said, “In the coalition government, Liberal Democrats championed apprenticeships and were proud that more than two million apprenticeships started over that time.

“We believe that high quality apprenticeships are an essential part of building the UK skills base.”