Economic growth in South Bristol

Karin Smyth MP praises plans to boost skills training and drive economic growth in Bristol during National Apprenticeships Week Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has set out Labour’s plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in Bristol, as data reveals the Tories’ decade of decline in apprenticeships and training has left the country unprepared for the future.

Over the last decade apprenticeship starts have declined by 27% in Bristol South as the Tories have failed to equip individuals and the economy with the skills to meet our national challenges including transition to net zero and rising demand for digital skills. To reverse this downwards trend Labour will give businesses the flexibility they’re asking for to train their workforce and deliver growth. We will start by turning the Tories’ failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’.

The Conservatives’ levy has seen millions of pounds that should be used for skills training going unspent, even as businesses report growing skills shortages. Giving businesses flexibility would ensure this money could be best spent on a greater range of training courses including basic English, maths and digital skills, so businesses can fill skills gaps and people can gain new skills to progress at work. As part of a wider package of reform, Labour will establish a new taskforce, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission to deliver the skills needs of the next decade. This will be driven by pushing power and decisions on skills spending out from Westminster to local communities, so those communities can better match up skills training with their local business needs and grow local and regional economies.

Locally, Karin Smyth is working hard with partners in the city to continue her annual South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair. This year’s fair will be taking place on Thursday 23 February at South Bristol Skills Academy, City of Bristol College, BS14 0DB. The fair takes place between 11am – 2.30pm.

Karin Smyth said: “Under the Tories the number of apprenticeship starts in Bristol South has dramatically declined. Every single percentage point represents a young person who wished to get ahead in life, but has been held back because of a lack of focus from the Government. We have young people clamouring to get an apprenticeship but they need support to secure them. “Apprenticeships have been held back by the Tory Government’s ill-judged Apprenticeship Levy scheme. A Labour Government will replace this with a Growth and Skills levy which will give employers the flexibility needed to offer a greater range of training course. “Whilst we await a General Election to implement these policies, I will continue to work closely with the City of Bristol College and others to provide my annual Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair.

It’s free and all are welcome. So, please do pop by the South Bristol Skills Academy on Thursday 23 February anytime between 11am – 2.30pm to see what opportunities are on offer for you.”