The number of apprenticeships in the Calder Valley has fallen by 180 in the last year, analysis of Government figures by the Labour Party reveals.
Figures from the Business, Innovation and Skills Department show that in Calderdale there was a fall of 350 apprenticeships, more than half of which were in the Calder Valley.
The statistics reveal a fall in apprenticeships in every region of England, with 69,570 fewer in 2013/14 across Yorkshire and Humber compared to 2012/13.
The number of young apprentices aged between 19 and 24 fell in every region outside London.
This comes alongside new fears that the quality of apprenticeships is being undermined, with a Government report finding that 21 per cent of apprentices are receiving no training while 15 per cent of apprentices are not receiving the appropriate minimum wage they are due.
New figures show that 93 per cent of those aged 25 or older already worked for their employer before starting their apprenticeship, suggesting that many existing training programmes for people already in work are simply being rebadged as apprenticeships.
Labour has announced that, if elected, it will use Government procurement to create thousands of new apprenticeship opportunities so that suppliers on major public projects will need to offer new apprenticeship places. It will act to safeguard apprenticeship quality by ensuring new standards so that all apprenticeships last a minimum of two years and include one day a week of off-the-job training.
Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley, said: “For every job created in the north, 12 are being created in the south – showing under David Cameron the north-south divide is getting worse.
“Apprenticeships are one of the most important ways of overcoming the lack of opportunities for young people but these figures show that things are going backwards under the Tories.
“Under Labour’s plans, we would use Government procurement to create thousands of new opportunities and would act to ensure all apprenticeships are of high quality and provide a route to a more high-skilled job.”