All of the major parties have made explicit commitments to provide more support for apprenticeships. In terms of increasing apprenticeship numbers, the Conservative proposals are most ambitious with 3 million mooted, but Labour and the Scottish National Party have also set firm targets for more modest increases in numbers.
The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have focussed on financial incentives for employers as a way to boost apprenticeship places, with the Conservatives promising relief on Employers’ National Insurance Contributions and the Liberal Democrats proposing an extension of the apprenticeship grant. Labour has looked more at how public services and government contracts might help to stimulate growth in the number of apprenticeship opportunities, and this is echoed in the Greens’ proposals. The Scottish National Party also includes a proposal to bring the apprenticeship minimum wage in line with the national minimum wage.
All three main UK-wide parties, as well as Plaid Cymru, have included an emphasis on developing higher-level apprenticeship options. Labour has said that it would introduce new ‘technical degrees’ which would be led by universities.