On Monday 8 July 2019, Boris Johnson used his regular Telegraph column to champion apprenticeships (http://bit.ly/32FMZkX). After a visit to meet BAE apprentices who were building a naval frigate on the River Clyde in Glasgow, he wrote: “When they have finished their apprenticeships, they will almost certainly have a high-wage, high-skill job that will absorb their concentration and their energies for decades to come”. He added: “We have a mismatch: unsatisfied university graduates, and unsatisfied employers”.

Referring to the impending outcome of the Conservative leadership contest, Mr Johnson concluded: “So we need to make sure that we not only properly fund all manner of technical and vocational education – from FE colleges to apprenticeships – and if I am lucky enough to be elected, we will. We need finally to do what we always promise we will – to elevate practical and technical qualifications, so that we recognise their immense value to society and to the individual.”

Responding to these comments, AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:

“We’re delighted that a levy payer with a long history of commitment to apprenticeships was able to show Boris Johnson the power of apprenticeships to transform young people’s lives and we welcome the likely future Prime Minister’s promise to invest more in the programme.

"The investment needs to be at all levels of apprenticeships to realise the vision that Mr Johnson has set out and funding needs to be made available to the thousands of non-levy paying SMEs across the country who are now being starved of the money required to offer new places on the programme. AELP wants to see the additional investment make a big difference for young people and the vital lower level apprenticeships which have been disproportionately hit by the dramatic fall in the number of apprenticeship starts.”

Later that week when another set of disappointing post-levy apprenticeship start numbers was published, Mark Dawe added:

“The government’s social mobility agenda is unravelling before our eyes which means that ministers should use the DfE’s £5bn of legacy funding to put this right now rather than wait in hope for a positive outcome from the Spending Review. Every minister will have read Boris Johnson’s Telegraph column on apprenticeships; if I were in their position, I wouldn’t be ignoring it.”

Link to AELP submission for Spending Review 2019: http://bit.ly/2JmqEkL

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