Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, is today [Monday] in the West Midlands with Liam Byrne, to pledge to back opportunities for young people to earn and learn as Labour analysis shows that Street failed to deliver on his manifesto promise to boost apprenticeships – even before Covid. 

In the last election, Andy Street promised 'zero young people will be unemployed or not in skills training' in his manifesto. 

Labour analysis shows that under the Conservatives apprenticeships have declined nationally by 33% since 2015 and by 40% in the West Midlands. 

While among young learners from the poorest backgrounds this decline has been even starker with apprenticeship starts falling by 52%. 

Labour’s analysis comes as official figures have shown that younger workers have been hit hardest by the impact of the pandemic, with figures showing 365,000 under-35s have lost their job in the last year, accounting for 80% of all job losses during the pandemic. 

Liam Byrne, Labour candidate for Mayor of the West Midlands: 

‘Across the country, 80% of job losses in the last year have come from the under-35s. We are the youngest region in Europe and the hardest hit by Covid. This is an emergency. 

‘This is why our plan to bring back industry so we can lead green Britain is so crucial. Meeting these young builders, the people who will build the green homes and factories that will make us the green industrial centre of the world fills me with hope. 

‘Our young people are our future. As they enter adulthood under the pressure of a triple crisis of Covid, environment and a jobs crisis you can still see that they have the resilience, creativity and skills to tackle all three. As Mayor, I will do all I can to unleash that potential and deliver well paid green jobs.” 

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party: 

“Young people across the West Midlands need opportunities to gain new skills, and employers who need a growing pool of talent to rebuild after this pandemic have been let down by a decade of Conservative failure on skills and training. 

“Labour’s Jobs Promise would give young people the opportunity to learn and earn, gaining the skills they need to progress into secure employment. 

“Liam Byrne as West Midlands Mayor will rebuild a strong local economy in which young people can use their skills and talent to thrive after the pandemic."