Every English school-leaver who “gets the grades” would be guaranteed an apprenticeship by Labour, Ed Miliband pledged today.
The Labour leader said he wanted the number of 18-year-olds who take up high-quality apprenticeships to match the number who accept university places.
Labour said it aimed to create at least 80,000 extra apprenticeships a year – all at Grade 3 level or above – by 2020.
Speaking at Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Wolverhampton, where he detailed his party’s new industrial strategy, Mr Miliband said six times more apprenticeships were on offer in Germany than in England.
“It is time to match the aspirations of our young people with the high-quality apprenticeships they deserve,” he said.
Labour would set up a training scheme for 18-year-old entrants to the civil service and require large firms bidding for government contracts to offer apprenticeships.
In response, Tory chairman Grant Shapps said that numbers of apprenticeships had doubled since 2010, claiming that Mr Miliband had no credibility on the subject as he had never run a business in his life.