Youth Unemployment remains a challenge for the region, with not enough young people being connected to new job opportunities. The Mayor’s Apprenticeship Promise is a commitment to all young people aged 16-24 across the region that they will be able to access a good apprenticeship or training opportunity without having to leave the West Midlands.
Our economy has a large manufacturing base, putting a high value on good quality apprenticeships in vocational subjects. Despite this, too many young people are of the opinion that university is their only option. The Mayor has set out to change this by putting apprenticeships back in the spotlight.
The Mayor’s Apprenticeship Promise is supported by a whole range of initiatives, such as the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund, which keeps unspent levy money within the West Midlands region instead of it being sent back to London. So far, more than £5m has been contributed as a result of large organisations joining the WMCA partnership.
So far, evidence shows that these initiatives are working. Data from the Office for Data Analytics shows that the number of Apprenticeship Starts grew by 2,540 to 31,750 across the West Midlands in 2018/19. This is 8.7 per cent up on the previous year and nearly double the national increase of 4.7 per cent.
There is still more to do before we fully tackle youth unemployment in the West Midlands, but the WMCA is working hard to buck the trend.