Leaving the EU could put 50,000 UK manufacturing apprenticeships at risk, Labour’s Alan Johnson has warned.
Johnson, leader of the “Labour In” pro EU membership campaign, spoke in Bristol today arguing that a decision to leave the EU would “let down” young British workers.
The former Home Secretary responded to days of debate and party infighting on all sides by setting out the economic case for staying in the 28-member union, and highlighting its support for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes in manufacturing:
“And turning specifically to apprentices in the manufacturing industry, and I’m pleased to see some of you here today, around 50,000 apprentices work today in manufacturing apprenticeships that depend on trade linked to our EU membership.
“That’s 50,000 apprenticeships which depend on our EU membership and leaving the EU could put those at risk.
“For each one of those apprentices, gaining skills, earning a good wage and working towards a career, we can’t let them down, turn our back on the world and cut British manufacturing and industry off from their largest export market.”
Leaders of some of Britain’s biggest companies have also expressed similar concerns that leaving the EU would threaten jobs and put the UK's economy at risk.
Bosses, including those of BT, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone, signed a letter published in the Times newspaper, saying an EU exit would hinder investment in the UK.
It read: “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs.
“We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk.
“Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU.”
Manufacturing is a consistently popular industry for apprentices: last year there were 74,000 apprenticeship starts in England, up from 64,000 the previous year.
Despite brexit however, we do have some amazing apprenticeships on offer, including manufacturing.