UK Conservatives pledge to create 100,000 more apprenticeships

By Thomson Reuters May 28, 2024 | 4:02 PM

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party said it would create 100,000 more high skilled apprenticeship places per year by 2029 if it wins a national election on July 4.


Britain’s economy is stuck in a rut of slow growth, held back in part by poor productivity and a shortage of labour.

Employers often complain of a mismatch between the skills they need and the skills British workers have, with apprenticeships seen as a way to close that gap and generate high-paying jobs in growth industries.


The pledge is to create 100,000 new apprenticeships per year by the end of the next five-year parliament.

In the 2022/23 academic year there were 337,100 new apprenticeship starts in England, according to a parliamentary research briefing.

The Conservatives said meeting the pledge would cost 885 million pounds ($1.1 billion) in 2029/30 and to pay for this it would close poorly performing university courses. This would save money on the cost of loans to those who would have taken those courses and divert them to employment or courses with better outcomes, they said in a briefing document.


Sunak’s Conservative Party is trailing the opposition Labour Party in most opinion polls by around 20 percentage points, which suggest it is on course to lose power after 14 years in government.

An existing apprenticeship scheme, funded by a levy on large employers, has been criticised by some industries as overly complicated and poorly administered.

The Labour Party want to make the existing scheme more flexible. Labour on Tuesday set out how it wants to spur economic growth and business investment.

($1 = 0.7831 pounds)

(Reporting by William James; Editing by David Holmes)