Stephen Williams, the Lib Dem candidate to be the West of England mayor on 4th May, has promised to be a champion for local apprentices and outlined a number of policies to help raise the profile of apprenticeships in the region.
The policies are outlined in Stephen Williams’ regional manifesto, which was launched last week by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron MP.
The manifesto includes a commitment to appointapprentice champions to represent the region’s diverse economic sectors, such as in aerospace, digital and film, computing, robotics and virtual reality, financial, legal and property services, low carbon and environmental businesses, food and drink, social enterprise andtourism. The manifesto also outlines plans to increase the number of young people accessing advanced apprenticeships in engineering and related fields, with particular emphasis on bringing more of a gender balance to the engineering sector.
Speaking about his plans, Stephen Williams said:
“There are many barriers that prevent young people from pursuing the apprenticeship route as a pathway to a career and action is needed to raise the profile of apprenticeships in the region. The government will devolve the adult skills budget to the regional mayors in May 2018. In between then and now I will meet with employers, further education colleges and other skills providers to discuss the skills needs of our regional economy. Everyone should have an opportunity to get on in life and apprenticeships are a great way to deliver that.
“Apprenticeships are vital if we are to build the highly skilled workforce in the region that will ensure that businesses are equipped for a modern economy, able to complete on a national and international stage. They help business because they reduce recruitment costs, reduce staff turnover and improve productivity.
“I will be a champion for local apprentices and my detailed plans for introducing apprenticeship champions will showcase the opportunities available in each sector. They will also work with schools so that young people in their early teens can appreciate the skilled path and rewarding career that is available to them through basic and advanced apprenticeships.
“This election is a clear choice between me and the inexperienced, Brexit-defending Tory candidate and I will bring together Bath, North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire together, with one voice.”