Talk­ing pol­i­tics

David Rut­ley

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

IT has been very en­cour­ag­ing over the past cou­ple of years to see un­em­ploy­ment fall­ing in Mac­cles­field – par­tic­u­larly youth un­em­ploy­ment.

Be­tween Au­gust 2011 and Au­gust 2015, the num­ber of un­em­ployed 18 to 24 year olds has more than halved in the con­stituency, and is at a lower rate than that for both the North West and the coun­try as a whole. This is a real achieve­ment, and re­flects the hard work of lo­cal busi­nesses and a strength­en­ing econ­omy.

This pos­i­tive progress also un­der­lines the im­por­tance of work­ing to fur­ther im­prove skills and thereby in­crease em­ploy­a­bil­ity among young peo­ple. That is why I was so en­cour­aged by the work be­ing done at Mac­cles­field Col­lege, when I vis­ited ear­lier this month, to meet the new prin­ci­pal, Rachel Kay.

I was de­lighted to hear about her ded­i­ca­tion to high qual­ity train­ing and sup­port of ap­pren­tice­ships, which the col­lege is keen to make an even stronger pri­or­ity.

Equally heart­en­ing is the en­thu­si­asm for ap­pren­tice­ship schemes among lo­cal busi­nesses. It was a plea­sure to at­tend As­traZeneca’s ap­pren­tice­ships event in Mac­cles­field, in late July, when 30 new ap­pren­tices were wel­comed into the com­pany.

This is the largest in­take of ap­pren­tices to a com­pany in the North West for sev­eral years and it is good to see our largest pri­vate sec­tor em­ployer take such pos­i­tive steps, along with many other pri­vate and public sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions of all sizes.

The lo­cal am­bi­tion of these ini­tia­tives re­flects the na­tional pic­ture, as well. The Gov­ern­ment is work­ing to pro­vide three mil­lion new ap­pren­tice­ships over the next five years, hav­ing suc­cess­fully cre­ated over two mil­lion in 2010-2015.

This is es­sen­tial to help de­liver a gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple more fully equipped with the skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions needed for the world of work and to take our econ­omy for­ward.

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