Gordon Brown visited Rolls-Royce’s aerospace training centre in Derby yesterday where he unveiled a new £140 million apprenticeship expansion programme which will see an extra 35,000 people take up vocational-based qualifications.
As part of his regional tour of the UK which today sees a cabinet meeting taking place in Liverpool, the PM was in the Midlands yesterday (Wednesday) to announce that the extra apprenticeships phased-in over this year and next would bring the total level of participants to above 250,000. Last year 224,000 embarked on such a journey and around half of them were aged 16-17.
Brown’s tour is to enable him to “to listen and to learn and to act on what people are saying.”
Apprenticeships are vital, he said, so Britain can “train for the future.”
“The first thing on my mind is that I’m here to help the families and businesses in this country come through this global problem,” he added.
Rolls-Royce itself will provide 220 apprenticeships itself in 2009.
John Cridland, deputy director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), responded by saying: “This is a useful initiative designed to help those people who are particularly vulnerable to unemployment develop their skills. However, the only way to protect real jobs is to get the credit markets working again.”
Brown also plans to visit Wales and the South-West on his three-day tour.