We still have a long way to go to ensure Parliament is open to people from all backgrounds

Apprenticeships offer a clear path to a successful career for thousands of young people across all sectors, including politicS

Share

People are often surprised to hear that the first time I set foot in the House of Commons chamber was as a Member of Parliament being sworn in. But the truth is – growing up in South London, Parliament was a place for other people. My bus driver Dad could only have dreamed, as a new arrival to London in the 1960’s from Pakistan, that three decades later his son would be the first ever MP of Islamic faith in London and to attend Cabinet. And as a teenager growing up in Britain in the 1970's and 1980’s – it was beyond my wildest dreams that I could become an MP.

Since I was elected as the MP for Tooting almost nine years ago – the gap between politics and ordinary people from backgrounds like mine has improved. But we still have a long way to go to ensure that Parliament is open and accessible to people from all backgrounds.

One of the ways in which I, and a small but growing number of my fellow MP’s, are working to break down these barriers is through employing apprentices via the ‘Parliamentary Academy’ scheme. My current apprentice Imogen began working for me last October after finishing her A-levels at Graveney sixth form in my constituency. Since then, she has had an opportunity to learn on the job, build up her knowledge and skills, gain qualifications - and all whilst earning the London Living Wage.

This week marks National Apprenticeship Week – where we celebrate the contribution made by apprentices like Imogen across the country. Here in London, apprenticeships offer a clear path to a successful career for thousands of young people across all sectors, including politics. If we want to continue the success of our capital city, we need more apprenticeships offering a real alternative career path to University. Unfortunately, too many young people just aren’t getting this opportunity under a Government that has completely undermined apprenticeships.

The Government isn’t doing enough to create quality apprenticeships for young people. When we were in office, Labour revitalised the programme – boosting apprenticeship starts from 65,000 when we took office in 1997 to 279,700 in our final year in government. Yet under the Tories more than 900,000 young people are now out of work and there are 25,000 fewer apprentices starting than there were last year. The Tories and Lib Dem aren’t doing enough to create the apprenticeships that Britain and London badly needs.

Under Ed Miliband’s leadership, the next Labour government will put this right. Building on the work of our independent Skills Taskforce, led by Chris Husbands, we will create a new universal standard for apprenticeships so they become qualifications that employers and young people can trust.  Having called on this Government to use the billions spent through public procurement to boost apprenticeship opportunities – we would require all companies bidding for contracts worth over £1 million to offer apprenticeships.

Investing in apprenticeships is an integral part of creating a better economy that works for everyone instead of just a few and in tackling the long term causes of the cost of living crisis. Young people in London like Imogen are amongst those who stand to benefit, but only if the Government steps up to provide the quality apprenticeships we need.

Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP is Shadow Justice Secretary and Shadow Minister for London

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Sorry Britain, but nobody cares about your little election – try being relevant next time

Emanuel Sidea
 

Election 2015: The big five of British politics

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power