Toby Perkins MP
Toby Perkins MP

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, has outlined his views at the launch of a Greene King report which urges the government to work across the sector to drive up employment and support local communities.

The Greene King report calls upon the government to support the hospitality industry to promote the sector as a career choice, reform the Apprenticeship Levy system to ensure greater flexibility and commit to cross-government collaboration, enabling the industry to deliver benefits in different communities across the country and for people of all backgrounds.

A key focus of the report is the existing apprenticeship levy system, which falls into Toby’s remit as Shadow Minister for Further Education & Skills.

The report urges Ministers to:

  • Provide the digital services and forecasting tools needed to ensure that employers can plan for the future and maximise the number of apprentices they can bring on board.
  • Ensure that incentives and schemes to support skills development, further education and apprenticeships, such as the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, are simple for employers and inclusive of all industries, including hospitality.
  • Explore ways to let businesses use any unspent apprenticeship levy funds more flexibly, allowing them to pass funds on to help small businesses to take on apprenticeships, or invest more in getting under-represented groups into roles.
  • Ensure consistency in apprenticeship programmes to allow businesses to implement the correct training and programmes, which is currently undermined by the frequency of reviews of especially Level 2 apprenticeship requirements.

Commenting at the launch of the report in the Commons, Toby outlined: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, few industries suffered more than the pubs and hospitality sector – and young people trying to enter the world of work were amongst those hit hardest. Young people leaving full-time education faced the toughest jobs market in a generation. It is therefore encouraging to see Greene King leading the industry’s response and redoubling their efforts to provide opportunities to young people, including through their new commitment to support 5,000 more apprentices by 2025”.

He added “The Labour Party views apprenticeships as the gold standard, and we believe that both apprenticeships and skills training will prove essential to providing young people with career opportunities and ultimately rebuilding the economy. With apprenticeship starts for 16 and 17-year-olds at their lowest level for more than a decade, business commitments such as Greene King’s will be vital to helping Labour to deliver on our plans to create new apprenticeship opportunities that we believe will fuel our economic recovery. I look forward to working with Greene King and others across the hospitality sector to ensure young people have the skills and opportunities they need for their career development, driving the recovery of the industry, local communities and the economy as a whole”.


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