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Unite calls for action on apprenticeships as talks stall

Unite the Union has earmarked 2020 as the year for delivering “real progress” on apprenticeships, even as it highlighted how dialogue between stakeholders and the Government on the issue has stalled following the general election.

The Union, which has long campaigned on the issue, yesterday wrote to Education Minister Gilbert Licudi calling for an “injection of urgent enthusiasm into the question of adequate training” for the young people of Gibraltar.

In the letter to Mr Licudi the union stated that “the issue of training and apprenticeships is and always has been a burning concerns for Unite” and that the union had “actively campaigned for quality apprenticeships and vocational training”, having confidence that these “lead to quality employment and a skilled local workforce”.

The letter goes on to explain that the pre-election presentation “for the introduction of a comprehensive vocational training programme” known as traineeships was well received by all stakeholders including Unite, but that there is a sense that developments have stalled and no further meetings or dialogue on this important issue have taken place or are planned in the diary.

Stuart Davies, Unite National Officer for Gibraltar, said: “This issue was and remains one of significant importance to the union and also to Gibraltar as a whole.”
“The delivery of good quality training and vocational qualifications is vitally important to complement the academic route available for young people in Gibraltar, ensuring a rounded availability of options for those planning their first steps into employment.”

“Apprenticeships and training were a key part of the union’s election manifesto which was presented to all political parties including the GSLP/Liberals and it is an agenda that our members are expecting good progress on in 2020”.

“The advantages to the Gibraltarian economy are clear and excellent apprenticeships are the key to a well-trained, motivated and skilled new workforce fit for the rigours of the 21st century workplace.”

“The union is keen to work collaboratively with the government and the education department with the union seeking dialogue with Minister Licudi as well as a reconvening of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council of Gibraltar.”

“There is an ambitious agenda under the traineeship programme and more than can be delivered in one year, but 2020 should be the year that we stop talking about apprenticeships, training and vocational qualifications and start delivering”.

The Unite apprenticeship committee is due to meet in late January to review the apprenticeship campaign and also the response the union receives from Mr Licudi.