Below are their responses.
Conservatives: Over the next five years, we will deliver three million more apprenticeships and ensure they deliver the skills employers need. We have abolished the jobs tax – employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – for the under-21s and next year we will do the same for young apprentices under 25. We will continue to help smaller businesses take on new workers through the Employment Allowance, which frees businesses from the first £2,000 of employers’ NICs so that a third of employers pay no jobs tax.
Labour: Labour will introduce an Apprenticeship Guarantee by which every school leaver who gets the grades will be able to begin a high-quality apprenticeship. Under Labour every young person that gets the right grades will have a right to a high-quality apprenticeship, just as people with good A-levels have a de facto right to go to university. We will require every firm getting a major government contract to offer apprenticeships.
Liberal Democrats: We will extend the £1,500 apprenticeship grant to 200,000 more employers in order to help them to hire more valuable apprentices. We want to improve the quality of apprenticeships and expand them to all sectors and all parts of the country. We will create employer-led groups that set the standards for apprenticeships.
Ukip: By linking vocational schools and colleges with industry, we will introduce an option for students to take an apprenticeship qualification instead of four non-core GCSEs. Students can then continue their apprenticeships past the age of 16, working with certified professions qualified to grade their progress.
TTG also contacted the Green Party, but it said that it “did not have the capacity to provide specific responses” to our questions.