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Business & Finance Series: General Election

Apprenticeship pledge puts distance between Tories and the City, says Cass expert

Professor Chris Rowley comments on the Conservative’s plan to use Libor fines to fund apprenticeship policy

by Sophie Cubbin (PR and Communications Manager)

David Cameron has pledged to create 50,000 new apprenticeships using Libor fines, according to an announcement given today.

Funded by the £227m fine imposed on Deutsche Bank for rigging the Libor market rate, under this new scheme the 50,000 apprenticeships will be targeted at 22-24 year olds who have been out of work for more than 6 months. In the manifestos the existing commitments regarding apprenticeships were:

  • Conservatives: support for 3 million apprenticeships
  • Labour: a place for all suitable school leavers; companies winning government contracts and employers hiring outside the EU to offer 2 year apprenticeships to new entrants
  • Liberal Democrats: double the number of business hiring them; 200,000 grants to employers for apprenticeships and expand the number of degree-equivalent higher apprenticeships

Speaking about the announcement, Professor Chris Rowley, Professor of Human Resource Management at Cass Business School, said:

”This pledge serves several purposes as it not only allows the Conservatives to try to better align themselves with young people and steal some of Labour’s ground, but it simultaneously allows the party to show it has put some distance, albeit only a little, between itself and the City.

“Furthermore, exactly what the pejorative term ‘apprenticeship’ actually means in practice and content and how rigorous and useful in employment terms they are, remain moot points. Indeed, the opportunity for unscrupulous businesses to ‘game the system’, as many already do with the lower ‘apprentice’ minimum wage, and simply label a job ‘an apprenticeship’ will be rife.”

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