Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg has launched the Liberal Democrat A Million Jobs for a Stronger Economy Campaign during a tour of the North East. The Deputy Prime Minister visited two companies in Durham, where jobs will be created and safeguarded thanks to the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
At CAV Aerospace, which designs and builds aerostructures (such as “stringers” - the thin strips of material that the skin of aircraft wings is attached to), ice protection systems and advanced green technologies for aircraft, Nick Clegg met a number of apprentices who are learning valuable skills on the job.
The £2.6bn Regional Growth Fund supports projects and programmes that create private sector jobs and economic growth. The funding has helped to create or safeguard 500,000 jobs at companies across England and in the supply chain.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Britain is creating jobs. I know it doesn’t always feel like it – a lot of families are still feeling the pinch. But since the Liberal Democrats came into Government in 2010, we’ve helped British businesses create more than a million jobs. Now we want to help them create a million more.
“That will mean an unrelenting focus from Government for the next two years. The country is on a jobs mission and I’m determined the Liberal Democrats will lead it.
“We want more jobs for young people; more jobs outside of London; more jobs in high skilled manufacturing and the high growth industries of the future; more green jobs and more rural jobs too.
“We’ve already done a lot – investing billions in science, advance manufacturing and renewable energy, as well as creating work by investing in roads, railways and homes. Our Regional Growth Fund is providing money to firms around the country. And we’re offering £2,000 cash back to employers on the tax they pay on their employees, making it easier to take people on.
“But we need to do more – starting with a major apprenticeships drive. More and more young people are learning the skills they need for well-paid careers, not just in a classroom or lecture theatre, but in the office or on the shop floor – and they’re getting paid for it.
“It’s an old idea to help build a new economy. Not only do apprenticeships create new opportunities for young men and women, but companies get the loyal and capable staff they need to compete and expand. It works for all kinds of industries – from construction to catering; from advanced engineering to accounting.
“Vince Cable and I made this a priority when we came into office and the Coalition is investing record sums in helping firms hire and train apprentices. We’re also cutting red tape so it’s easier for smaller firms to take people on.
“But there are still firms and young people missing out. We have nearly five million businesses in the UK, but little over 100,000 currently offer apprenticeships. We need to be more ambitious – I want to see that number double to 200,000. Over time, I want to see apprenticeships viewed as a much more mainstream route to work. They’re a crucial building block for the stronger economy and fairer society we all seek, enabling everyone to get on in life.”