Plaid Cymru Dismay over Cuts to Successful Apprenticeship Scheme

Simon Thomas AM

Simon Thomas AM

Party of Wales Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and the Welsh Language Simon Thomas has revealed further damaging cuts in the Welsh Government’s education and skills budget.

Following cuts in-year to schools funding uncovered by Mr Thomas, the party has now discovered £7 million of in-year cuts to the Young Recruits Programme and apprenticeships.

Through securing more funding for apprenticeships two years ago, Plaid Cymru ensured the creation of more than two thousand higher level apprenticeship places in its budget deal with the Welsh Government and an increase in the Young Recruits programme.

Despite great demand for these high level skills, the Deputy Minister for Education and Skills has confirmed to Mr Thomas that the programme is to be changed.

Party of Wales Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and the Welsh Language Simon Thomas said:

“At a time when youth unemployment is soaring, it is counter-productive of the Welsh Government to cut the skills training budget for young recruits. The Deputy Minister’s admission that the programme is changing actually means a £7 million cut comprising a £5 million cut to apprenticeships and a £2 million cut to the Young Recruits programme. This in effect means no new apprenticeships places will become available in the next 8 months, meaning stagnation in the skills programme and many providers will find the cuts to mean they will struggle to deliver even the current apprenticeship programme.

“These changes are being made after the Assembly has gone into recess meaning it is difficult to question Ministers, but I suspect our budget deal on extra resources for apprenticeships has been broken as we are 16 months into a two year agreement and the programme has been slashed to the bone.
“This news shows the Education Minister has failed to protect his budget against the voracious demands of overspending by the health boards with successive in-year cuts to schools and skill spending meaning budget promises have been broken and Labour’s rhetoric of giving vocational training parity with university students exposed as a sham.”

Simon Thomas added: “If we are to tackle the problem of long term youth unemployment then we need to expand skills training to give young people the opportunity they need to find well-paid work.

“Cutting the skills budget is short-sighted and will prevent young people from accessing the training they need.

“Plaid Cymru made positive steps in tackling this problem when we created four thousand higher level apprenticeships over two years in our budget agreement with the Welsh Government. This was a successful scheme, and it is therefore disappointing that Labour have decided to roll the scheme back.”

, ,

Leave a Reply