Just last week, along with Chorlton Park Councillor Norman Lewis, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the new apprentices at Southway Housing Trust. The trust is one of the many organisations doing good work and getting involved in providing apprenticeships to help create jobs in our area.
Since 2010 the Liberal Democrats have helped the private sector to create 1.4 million new jobs in the UK and we aim to create 1 million more by 2015. We have also led to a record rise in apprenticeships, including 1500 new apprentices in our area, up 80% on 2010.
After meeting with the apprentices at head office we went off to meet other apprentices working on the new Merseybank Community development that is being built by Wates, which will encompass the new community centre and library along with new social housing apartments, which are so desperately needed in our area. This development is particularly close to my heart since I first put forward the idea of joint service centre over a decade ago after our library was tragically burnt down.
The development has certainly been a long time coming and has been made possible through Southway commitment to providing more affordable housing. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff at the development, and particularly the apprentices themselves. I met apprentices like Sean, Leighton and John, who are local lads, for whom this apprenticeship has given them the opportunity to learn new skills and has given them step-up in life.
But this is only a start. Although unemployment is down on the 2010 General Election level; more needs to be done. There are still too many local people out of work. That is why I want to continue to support job creation in South Manchester and support organisations like Southway who are doing their bit to employ and train local young people.