Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has highlighted the deal that Plaid Cymru made with the Welsh Government to create more apprenticeship opportunities in the 2013 Budget, partly funded by the European Social Fund.
In the deal, Plaid Cymru ensured funding for more than 5,500 apprenticeships, including for 2,500 higher level apprenticeships, and to support SMEs and businesses in Welsh speaking parts of Wales.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said:
“As Andreas Schleicher of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has said ‘your education today is your economy tomorrow’. That is why we struck a deal with the Welsh Government on apprenticeships to ensure people get the skills they need for work.”
“The European funding that secured apprenticeship opportunities for people across Wales is another example of the benefits to Wales of being part of the European Union.
“However we need to ensure our voice is heard for more opportunities for Wales, and it is only Plaid Cymru that can do that and put Wales first. We are not tied by the apron-strings of London or Brussels. Only Plaid Cymru can put that distinct, independent voice for Wales.”
Shadow Education Minister for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas, Mid and West AM added:
“A whole generation has been educated under Labour and they now have worse standards and fewer opportunities than their parents. The Party of Wales is not prepared to let this continue.
“At the moment there are too few options for young people who want to stay on in education post 18 but do not want to go to university.
“That is why Plaid Cymru demonstrated our commitment through our apprenticeship deal with the Welsh Government last year – creating over 5,500 new apprenticeships, over 2,500 of them higher apprenticeships.
“I’m pleased that our agreement on funding with the Welsh Government has led to a real expansion of the Young Recruits programme, so much so that it has been significantly over-subscribed.
“One particular success has been the growth of higher level apprenticeships. These are at Levels 4, 5 and 6 and give a real alternative route to graduate level training, enriching our nation’s skills and economy.”