Ed Miliband has pledged to be a “champion” for the UK engineering and manufacturing community, outlining his party’s plans for government if they win the general election.
Speaking at the EEF conference, Ed Miliband set out a range of policies to help business and explained that skills and training for young people were top priority for his party’s plans.
“To build the economy we need in the 21st century we need all of our young people to be developing the skills necessary to compete in the world.”
Miliband said that the current government has failed to address the skill shortage in engineering and argued that the UK has missed out on “wealth creation”.
“We will need to train 160,000 engineers a year to meet the demands of businesses like yours, but today we are producing far fewer than we need.”
“If the trend continues over the next five years we will be faced with a shortfall of over 400,000 engineers by around 2020.”
Labour plans to increase the number of apprentices and create a new technical degree that will bridge the gap between academic and vocational education.
“Our 10-year aim, our shared mission as a country, must be to ensure that as many young people leaving school at 18 go on to an apprenticeship as go into higher education,” Miliband said.
Miliband said he wanted to give business more control over funding, but also warned that he would push for agencies and companies recruiting from the EU to take on more apprentices.