Jeremy Corbyn: 320,000 climate apprenticeships to help green economy

By Catherine Wylie, PA

Labour has promised to create a climate apprenticeship programme which will train an average of 80,000 people a year.

The party said it will also bring in reforms to the apprenticeship levy in a bid to better meet the needs of workers and employers, as well as tackling the climate emergency.

Under the plans, Labour said they will deliver 320,000 apprenticeships in England during their first term in government, with the programme creating 886,000 by 2030.

Climate apprenticeships will “upskill” the UK workforce so that UK companies can compete and succeed in the green economy, the party said.

Under the plans, businesses will benefit from an average of 80,000 people per year being trained as apprentice engineers and technicians in renewable energy and transport, civil engineers and skilled tradespeople in sustainable construction, designers, welders and fabricators in low carbon industries, and sustainable agriculture and forestry specialists.

Labour said the programme will be funded by diverting 25% of the funds employers already set aside through the Apprenticeship Levy and topped up by any dividends over the cap paid into Labour’s Inclusive Ownership Funds, which the party said is expected to be £700 million by 2024.

Labour said they will give employers more flexibility in how they spend their levy funds, and among reforms are allowing levy funds to be redeemed for a wider range of accredited training and extending the period of time allowed for employers to spend their levy.

The party said it will also increase the amount of money businesses are allowed to transfer to non-levy paying small and medium-sized businesses.

Speaking to business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry annual conference on Monday, Leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to say: “Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution will be a central motor of the party’s plans to transform our country and economy, using public investment to create good, clean jobs, tackle the climate emergency and rebuild held back towns, cities and communities.

“Climate Apprenticeships will offer training to school leavers and workers looking to change jobs mid-career, creating the engineers, technicians and construction workers we need to transition to a green economy.

“This election is our last chance to tackle the climate emergency. The Tories have failed to invest in our economy, failed to deliver apprenticeships and failed to face up to the climate emergency.”