Stephen McPartland, speaking in the House of Commons recently, said, "It is great news that the number of apprentices in Stevenage has risen by 73% over the last year, from 380 to 650. Those numbers are important, because they relate not just to training schemes but to apprenticeships that will lead to real jobs".
Stephen went on to praise the quality of apprenticeships in Stevenage and said "My constituency contains a couple of manufacturing firms: MBDA, which builds complex weapons systems, and Astrium, which builds 25% of the world’s telecommunications satellites. Their boards are run by people who were apprentices 20 or 25 years ago, and they offer massive apprenticeship opportunities. MBDA recently won an award for being one of the best apprenticeship organisations in the country. The companies take on students aged 16 or 18, give them real jobs, and support their development and acquisition of skills. They even pay for their degrees so that they can make progress".
Stephen also made the point that, "The quality of apprenticeships depends on the quality of the colleges that provide the training. North Hertfordshire college has an inspirational leader, Fintan Donohue, who has been working very hard. I am grateful to the Department for Education for providing it with a studio school last week, one of 12 in the United Kingdom, which will focus on science and technology. That brings me back to MBDA and Astrium, whose apprentices specialise in those subjects. The headquarters of the Institution of Engineering Technology are in Stevenage, and it is very involved in the provision of engineering qualifications. We need more young apprentices gaining skills that will make firms want to employ them in real jobs".