Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, has announced plans to force firms to take on an apprentice every time they employ someone from outside the EU in the UK.
A BBC report says that Mr Miliband has told the Sunday Mirror: “I want a high wage British economy, not a low wage brutish economy, and we’ve got plans to make that happen to drive up skills.
“So we’re going to say to any firm who wants to bring in a foreign worker that they also have to train up someone who’s a local worker, training up the next generation.
“We think that can create up to 125,000 new apprenticeships over the course of five years. And that is a massive boost in skills for our young people and that is really important.”
Gordon Marsden, Shadow Skills Minister, told FE Week: “This plan is in line with our strong overall pledge to make a radical difference to home grown skills and widen the range of apprenticeships.”
FE Week understands the scheme would apply to employers with 50 or more staff hiring migrants under “Tier 2” of the points-based system, where migrants are recruited to plug specific skills gaps and that the apprentice requirement would not need to be a like for like matching of the position being filled.
UPDATE : At 15:00 on Sunday 22, the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock tweeted from @matthancockmp “I have been advised by government lawyers that legislating to require hiring British apprentices would be contract law.” And “To be compliant the legislation would need to say the firm had to take on EU apprentices, not just British ones”
Labour’s Skills Taskforce, chaired by Chris Husbands, has also just published a report on apprenticeships. A revolution in apprenticeships: a something-for-something deal with employers. Read more about the report, and the call to end level 2 apprenticeships here.
On Sunday 22 at 18:30 FE Week is holding a free to attend fringe event at the Labour Party Conference about the future of apprenticeships (for more click here)