Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay are failing to truly recognise the benefits of apprenticeships to the Welsh economy, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said.
A report by the National Training Federation Wales entitled The Value of Apprenticeships to Wales notes that there is a “£74 return for every £1 invested compared to a £57 return for every £1 invested for the average degree”.
Despite this, Labour Ministers have chosen to cut funding to apprenticeship schemes in recent budgets, instead favouring less effective work experience schemes like Jobs Growth Wales. A Welsh Government evaluation of Jobs Growth Wales found that 73% of participants would have found a job without the help of the scheme.
In their budget deal with the Welsh Government, the Welsh Liberal Democrats secured funding for an extra 5,000 apprenticeship starts in 2015/16 and 2016/17 in the face of cuts by Labour Minsters.
Eluned Parrott AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister, said:
“The evidence that apprenticeships provide a huge boost to our economy and the apprentice is clear – it’s why Liberal Democrats put so much emphasis on doubling the number of apprenticeships while in Government.
“This report provides a compelling case for boosting investment in Welsh apprenticeships. Why then was it left to the Welsh Liberal Democrats to mitigate Labour’s cuts to Welsh apprenticeship funding?
“Instead of boosting investment in apprenticeships which have a proven positive effect on the economy, Labour Ministers would rather plough money into the ineffective Jobs Growth Wales, despite the fact that most participants would have found a job without it.
“The inability for Labour Ministers to recognise the benefits of apprenticeships to the Welsh economy, and prioritise them accordingly, is shocking. We need a proper economic vision for Wales from our Government – sadly Labour is falling way short of the mark.”