Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton has voiced her backing for apprenticeships for people over the age of 60.
Speaking during education questions in the House of Commons this afternoon, Ms Milton gave an "assurance" to former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers that apprenticeships were available to everybody, “whatever their background and whatever their age”
She told MPs that "over 3,000" people aged 60 and above – an age group that Ms Milton said she "belongs to" – had started an apprenticeship this year. Between August 2016 and April, 3,420 people aged 60 and above started an apprenticeship, compared with 3,560 60-plus learners in 2015-16.
'We are not writing anybody off'
Ms Milton was also asked by Stephen Lloyd, Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne, why the government had "written off" almost 16,000 part-time adult learners.
"There’s absolutely no question of this government writing anybody off," Ms Milton replied. "In fact, social mobility is at the heart of everything that’s driving our policy. I would point out that there are areas where the government is...putting in substantial amounts of money. Interestingly the returners programme: at the moment the government is spending £5 million to enable retraining and upskilling of people, particularly in social work and allied health professionals."
She added: "This is important for people who’ve taken a career break due to caring responsibilities and we set an ambition in our document building on the industrial strategy to make sure that we have a proactive approach for people to learn throughout their lives."