David Cameron was in Meltham today to set out plans to create three million new apprenticeships.
The Conservative leader, who hopes to become the next Prime Minister, said his party will commit to abolishing long-term youth unemployment.
Mr Cameron toured the Camira Fabrics factory on Meltham Mills Road with Jason McCartney, the Conservative candidate for the Colne Valley seat.
He met apprentices Alex Rank, 17, a warp-knotter, and Cory Hurst, 18, a weaver.
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Three million more apprenticeships pledged
Mr Cameron set out how his party had already delivered “a record” 2.2 apprenticeships since 2010 and pledged three million more if they return to Government after May 7’s general election.
Nationally 16,000 new apprenticeships were announced yesterday at Morrisons, Crest Nicholson and the National Grid.
Mr Cameron said: “There really has never been a better time to start an apprenticeship and it’s a huge leap forward to have even more of Britain’s most prestigious employers hiring apprentices.
“We want apprenticeships to be level-pegging with a university degree giving millions more people the dignity of work and a regular pay packet.”
Alex and Cory, both former Shelley College pupils, were only told on Thursday morning that they would meet the PM and Alex said: “He was really nice, polite and talked a lot.
“I think apprenticeships for a long time weren’t seen as the best way into a job, but I know a few people from school wish they had done one.”
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Cory added: “He asked me what I think of being an apprentice, what we did and whether we enjoyed it. He seemed an alright guy.”
McCartney: 'Apprentices are important'
Mr McCartney, who has named-checked Camira Fabrics’ success in Parliament before, said: “David Cameron was interested to hear from the two young apprentices, Alex and Cory, and also hear how thousands of Londoners are experiencing what Camira does because London buses are covered with fabric from here in Meltham.
“Apprentices are important for us. We’ve committed to creating more to help tackle unemployment; since 2010 in the Colne Valley there have been 4,700 apprenticeships created and unemployment is 2.6% compared to a national average of 5.8% which and it’s thanks to firms like Camira that are creating quality job opportunities.”