'Apprentices are the future', says Iain Duncan Smith in visit to Bolton missile factory MBDA

The Bolton News: From left, Chris Green, Iain Duncan Smith, Bernard Waldron and apprentice Samantha Ball at MBDA in Lostock From left, Chris Green, Iain Duncan Smith, Bernard Waldron and apprentice Samantha Ball at MBDA in Lostock

YOUNG people in Bolton have been encouraged to take up apprenticeships by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith on a visit to the town.

Mr Duncan Smith met trainees at MBDA, the Lostock firm that builds missiles systems for more than 90 armed forces worldwide.

He was with Chris Green, prospective Conservative candidate for Bolton West, who will stand against Labour MP Julie Hilling at the 2015 general election.

MBDA employs 20 apprentices in Bolton at its site off Lostock Lane, where they learn about all aspects of the company over a four-year period.

Mr Duncan Smith said changing attitudes about apprentices and encouraging more people to look into applying for one has been a priority for the government.

He added: “Britain has had a bad track record for apprentices over the last 40 or 50 years.

“We can get ourselves into a position where the Germans are — where being an apprentice has the equivalent status of being at university, “One of the programmes we’ve got is to give someone who takes on an apprentice an early subsidy on the apprenticeships, which is worth about £1,500.

“There’s a big push at the moment to get this status of apprenticeships up, which it hasn’t been in the UK and should be, and at the same time to encourage greater diversity among people going into apprenticeships.”

Government figures show that 7.4 per cent of Bolton’s 18 to 24 year olds are on jobseekers allowance — equivalent to 1,870 young people.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “All the young kids say the problem they’ve got is that they go in front of an employer and they say: ‘Have you got any experience?’ “Their answer is ‘No’ because they can’t get employed because they don’t have experience.

“We have allowed them to have that two months where they will continue to get their benefits — but they can go and get experience in a company.

“What we have found is once you started connecting job seekers to the businesses, they start taking them on and creating a job around them, and once they had work experience on their CVs they get snapped up.”

Bernard Waldron, MBDA manufacturing director for the UK, said the company has benefited “tremendously” from apprentices, and has recruited 10 since September.

He added: “Apprentices offer a commitment from day one to the community and the business, and become integral members.

“They develop their skills and competencies while working in a way that is complementary to the business’s needs — so they are learning and working.”

Comments (4)

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7:53am Sat 11 Jan 14

oftbewildered2 says...

could never understand why apprenticeships fell out of favour. They served my generation well, and probably my father's generation as well. Everyone was going to night school or 'Tech.' Perhaps it came about when the Government thought that everyone should go to University. Horses for courses I would say. I wasn't University material, but an apprenticeship type training served me well and I had a good career. I think we need to get back on course with training for work and apprenticeships should be given the respect they deserve.
could never understand why apprenticeships fell out of favour. They served my generation well, and probably my father's generation as well. Everyone was going to night school or 'Tech.' Perhaps it came about when the Government thought that everyone should go to University. Horses for courses I would say. I wasn't University material, but an apprenticeship type training served me well and I had a good career. I think we need to get back on course with training for work and apprenticeships should be given the respect they deserve. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 5

9:35am Sat 11 Jan 14

thomas222 says...

The only manufacturing these clowns visit are arms and cars makers because there is nothing else making anything to shout about. Also apprentiships they bleat on are not like they were with city and guilds etc.. a office clerk or a office junior is classed as a apprentice.... Its all smoke and mirrors as usual!
The only manufacturing these clowns visit are arms and cars makers because there is nothing else making anything to shout about. Also apprentiships they bleat on are not like they were with city and guilds etc.. a office clerk or a office junior is classed as a apprentice.... Its all smoke and mirrors as usual! thomas222
  • Score: 1

7:00pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Brumas says...

There used to be around 3600 people work at that factory, apprenticeships followed jobs. Although well done MBDA it is still a net loss of apprentices.
There used to be around 3600 people work at that factory, apprenticeships followed jobs. Although well done MBDA it is still a net loss of apprentices. Brumas
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Sun 12 Jan 14

gpbrown81 says...

"They develop their skills and competencies while working in a way that is complementary to the business’s needs", complementary as in free? Yes, I think smoke and mirrors are involved. Like the workfare, where claimants have to work full time jobs to keep their £71.20 a week benefits. They are now creating "Apprenticeships" that make claimants work for companies longer for very little pay. I remember doing an apprenticeship when I was younger, got little next to nothing a week in the way of salary. Soon as the apprenticeship was over, they replaced me for another who would work for the same packet of peanuts.
"They develop their skills and competencies while working in a way that is complementary to the business’s needs", complementary as in free? Yes, I think smoke and mirrors are involved. Like the workfare, where claimants have to work full time jobs to keep their £71.20 a week benefits. They are now creating "Apprenticeships" that make claimants work for companies longer for very little pay. I remember doing an apprenticeship when I was younger, got little next to nothing a week in the way of salary. Soon as the apprenticeship was over, they replaced me for another who would work for the same packet of peanuts. gpbrown81
  • Score: 1

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