This National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March) Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch County, celebrated the vital contribution of apprentices in Redditch.

Since 2010 there have been an amazing 7,110 apprenticeship starts in Redditch, and over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts nationally since 2015. Take-up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015-16.

And on Friday (9 March) Rachel visited two companies in Redditch to see apprenticeships being showcased for herself. First, she went to MSP in Enfield, a leading manufacturer of springs and stampings in a range of materials such as stainless steel, copper and titanium. They were hosting a local Opening Doors day where students from Ipsley RSA Academy were being given an insight into the world of work as well as apprenticeships.

Then Rachel visited Bee lighting in Moons Moat to meet some of their apprentices. Bee Lighting make high quality lighting solutions for the motor industry.

Rachel said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Conservative Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of three million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

“But we know there is still more to do, which is why we recently launched an education and funding review that will help people make more effective choices between the different options available to them, promoting parity of esteem between technical and academic pathways – something I am passionate about.

“Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers.”

Picture: Rachel meet students from Ipsley RSA Academy as they are shown the benefits of apprenticeships at MSP. Also pictured is Paul Harris, production engineering manager.