Rachel Reeves MP Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary visited local business Clarkson Evans in Crawley to look at their apprenticeship scheme. Clarkson Evans’ apprentice scheme was recognised last year when they won the National Vocational Qualification Employer of the Year 2014 Award.
Rachel Reeves said: “People in Crawley are working harder than ever, but since 2010 their wages have fallen by an average of £2,900 and around 8,000 people in Crawley are paid below the Living Wage. That’s an appalling legacy for David Cameron to leave Crawley after just five years in Downing Street. In fact it’s nothing short of a scandal.
“It was inspiring to visit Clarkson Evans. They have really embraced apprenticeships and offer a great scheme with amazing opportunities for their staff.
“Labour will encourage more schemes like this. We will make work pay by helping businesses in Crawley to create well paid and high skilled jobs in the town with our apprenticeship plan and our pledge to cut ibusiness rates.
“We will make work pay by giving tax rebates to firms in Crawley who sign up to pay a living wage.
We will make work pay by raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour. We will make work pay by banning exploitative zero hours contracts.
“Labour’s better plan will deliver a more productive, higher skill, higher wage economy in Crawley and across the country and we will halve the number of low paid jobs by 2025.”
“I promise we’ll make work pay for people in Crawley and across the country.”
Crawley lad and ex Oriel High pupil Cian Morgan – Smith was one of the apprentices who met the Shadow Minister. Cian said, “The best thing about a good apprenticeship is that when you come out you’ve got a job and in the meantime you are working, learning and earning – you can’t say that about university.
“It was really good to meet Rachel Reeves and be able to put across the importance of encouraging more good quality apprenticeships because I think the more we have the better.”
Accompanying the Shadow Minister on the visit, Crawley’s Labour candidate Chris Oxlade said: “The young people we met today like Cian are getting a really excellent training from this programme with recognised qualifications that will set them up for life.
“I never cease to be impressed by the quality of our young people in Crawley - it’s really inspiring to see them working so well. Everyone at Clarkson Evans is proud of these young people and the apprenticeship programme. I know that Crawley’s young people want and deserve more opportunities of this quality and that is what a Labour Government will deliver.”
Clarkson Evans’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Elaine Hodgin said, “ Clarkeson Evans are building homes across the district and it’s really satisfying for our staff to know they are helping house local families.
“As a firm we have an on-going recruitment programme for apprenticeships in Crawley and openings all year round.”