REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley took Esther McVey, the minister of state for employment to two businesses in the town this week to showcase just how well the town is growing, and to highlight the need for apprentices.

The two MPs visited Bee Designed on the Enfield Industrial Estate, which has grown in the past eight years from having two employees and a turnover of £200,000, to having 18 employees, and a turnover of £2.5 million, exporting goods to Europe, the US and India.

The second company visited, was, based on Prospect Hill, which is currently employing nine apprentices on its books.

Ms Lumley is aiming to increase the number of local firms taking on an apprentice.

She said: “The rise in the number of apprentices is encouraging but politicians, employers and educators must do more to break down the barriers between academic and vocational training for young people. It should become the norm that young people get to choose between going to university or an apprenticeship when they leave school.

Apprenticeships are critical to tackling the skills gap that exists in Britain. They provide young people with much needed experience, often lead to a full-time job and bring real value to the businesses that take them on by allowing them to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

“In the coming weeks I will be visiting a number of great businesses who already employ apprentices, such as and Mount Pleasant Garage. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to meet with even more successful apprentices, particularly after what I hope will be a successful Apprenticeship Fair in Redditch later in the year.”