Public Bill Committee: Enterprise Bill [Lords]: Clause 20 - Public sector apprenticeship targets (11 Feb 2016)

I welcome that intervention, if the Committee agrees that I should talk much longer, but, given the time I will keep my comments brief.

I support the principles of amendments 70 and 73. As well as being equality-based, they tie in with the UK Government’s objective to reduce the welfare bill, so it is important to set targets and engage with the groups that have been mentioned. The Scottish Government have published a modern apprenticeships equalities action plan, which sets targets for black and minority ethnic people and gender balance, as well as for care leavers and people with disabilities. That ties in with the comments made by the hon. Member for Cardiff West. I urge the UK Government to make progress on wider equality.

On the levy and the fund to expand the apprenticeship scheme, we are still awaiting clarification on how the Scottish Government’s share and allocation of the apprenticeship levy will be calculated. For us, that is  important going forward so that we can plan how we will support and supplement our existing apprenticeships scheme. I hope the Minister will address that.