Steve stands corrected! Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a grand total of THREE apprentices under 19 not ONE

Speaking in a debate on Apprenticeships in March, Steve McCabe, Birmingham Selly Oak, asked:


“Is my hon. Friend as shocked as I am to discover that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with a staff of approximately 2,500, appears to employ only one apprentice under the age of 19? Would today not be a good day for the Minister to make an announcement that he will put that right, put his own house in order and set an example for everybody else?”


Michael Fallon, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, responded:


“...Thirdly, let us turn to the idea of apprentices in Whitehall. I agree. In 2010, we found hardly any apprentices in Ministers’ offices. There are now 1,800 across Whitehall. We announced a fast-stream apprentice scheme that will take 500 apprentices—the same number as the graduate fast stream. Other of the Leader of the Opposition’s colleagues mentioned the number of apprentices in my Department. They were wrong; there are 79 apprentices in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and its Executive agencies, hired despite the broader hiring freeze. [Interruption.] Other than apprentices, the Department employs no one at all aged under 19.”


From this exchange a sensible person may think the Minister was implying that the Dept for BIS had 79 apprentices under the age of 19, but Steve McCabe wanted some clarification so tabled a parliamentary question to get the right answer.


Steve asked:

“ many of the 79 apprentices employed by his Department are aged under 19.”


Jo Swinson MP replied, informing Steve:Of the 37 apprentices working in BIS HQ three are aged 19 or below. These data are not currently collected for our agencies.”


Steve said:

“Well I stand corrected; I obviously made a huge error by suggesting there was only ONE apprentice under the age of 19 at the Dept for BIS when in actual fact there are THREE. Congratulations to BIS for setting such a sterling example to the business community...”

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