2015 Election manifestos: what they say for skills and training

,  28 April 2015

Compared with the previous election, the 2015 General Election manifestos have shown a greater emphasis on apprenticeships and vocational learning as a route to work for young people.

Below are some of the key details of each party’s position on apprenticeships and learning:


The Conservative manifesto commits to support the creation of three million new apprenticeships. This includes replacing classroom-based Further Education courses with apprenticeships, as well as rolling out more Degree Apprenticeships.

It also promises that careers advice and routes into work experience will be supported by Jobcentre Plus advisers, working with schools and colleges.


Labour’s manifesto contains a guaranteed apprenticeship for every school leaver with sufficient grades. It will move existing spending from low-level apprenticeships for older people, to apprenticeships focused on new job entrants, lasting at least two years, and providing level three qualifications or above. The creative industries in particular were noted as crucial to the economy, with a pledge to increase creative apprenticeships.

A new, independent system of careers advice is proposed, offering personalised face-to-face guidance on routes into university and apprenticeships.

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices by 2020, and develop National Colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors.

It also promises to extend the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers; expand the number of degree-equivalent Higher Apprenticeships; and work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors, and encourage underrepresented groups to apply.


UKIP’s manifesto includes a promise to introduce an option for students to take an apprenticeship qualification instead of four non-core GCSE subjects, which they can continue past the age of 16.


The Green manifesto pledges to provide an apprenticeship for all qualified young people aged 16-25, increasing the funding for apprenticeships by 30 per cent.


The SNP manifesto contains a promise to increase the delivery of Modern Apprenticeships from 25,000 to 30,000 by the year 2020. It also promises to push the UK to adopt the European Youth Guarantee, which ensures that all young people under 25 get a good-quality, concrete offer within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto pledges to continue to promote apprenticeships, particularly Higher Level Apprenticeships, particularly in media and the arts. It highlights the thousands of new apprenticeships, including Welsh-language apprenticeships, that have been ensured by a 2012 budget agreement.


Compared to the 2010 election manifestos, the idea of apprenticeships has been given much greater prominance. In some cases, it has gone from being part of a general education package, to having its own section. In others, it has gone from not being mentioned at all, to a key part of education policy. The numbers and scale being pledged have also increased - with apprenticeships being placed alongside other post-16 education options.

What are your views? Is this because of what has been achieved in apprenticeships over the last five years; the need to provide yung people with work and opportunities; or a response to employers wanting a skills system that is responsive to their needs?


You can find out more about Creative & Cultural Skills’ work with funding apprenticeships and paid internships, as well as information about the new National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries.

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