Labour has announced its plans to address a 15.7 per cent fall in apprenticeships since 2015.

The figures, collected by Cherwell Labour, indicate apprenticeship starts dropped from 1,080 in 2015 to 910 in the latest figures.

To improve this declining trend, Labour plans to train more than 1,000 new careers advisors.

These advisors will offer professional guidance at schools and colleges and facilitate work experiences for young people.

READ MORE: Littlemore man found unresponsive had 'drug-related' death

Labour will also set up Skills England, a new entity focused on meeting the skills requirements of the upcoming decade.

This body aims to shift decision-making power on skills spending from Westminster to local areas to align skills training with local business needs and stimulate local and regional economics.

Sean Woodcock, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Banbury and Labour leader on Cherwell District Council, said: "Families in Cherwell want to see their children do well and get on – and apprenticeships are a great route to doing exactly that.

Oxford Mail: Sean Woodcock Sean Woodcock (Image: Newsquest)"But under the Conservatives fewer and fewer young people are able to find opportunities to take up a place."

Bridget Phillipson MP, shadow education secretary, added: "Despite their rhetoric, the Tories have overseen a decade of decline in skills and training opportunities which is holding Britain back.

"More training opportunities so people can gain new skills, access better jobs and grow our economy."

Responding to Labour’s statement in National Apprenticeship Week, Calum Miller, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Bicester and Woodstock and county councillor for Otmoor, said: “Every person deserves the chance to develop their skills, learn a trade and start a career.

"I have worked with and mentored apprentices and seen them flourish in a well-supported environment. But this Conservative government has carelessly presided over a collapse in apprenticeships.

"In key areas like manufacturing, they have fallen by up to 73 per cent from 2015- 16 to 2022-23.

"We welcome Labour’s recognition that the programme has been far too centralised.

"Liberal Democrats have long called for apprenticeship priorities to be locally determined by local businesses, local government and local colleges agreeing on the priorities in their area.

"In our area, for example, we need to train people in key areas such as retrofitting homes to ensure warm housing and reduce energy costs. The Bicester Construction Skills Centre is a good example of local leadership.”

Councillor John Howson, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for children, education and young people’s services said: “Liberal Democrat research in 2023 highlighted drop-out rates for apprenticeships of up to 76 per cent in some sectors.

"To tackle the drop-out rate, Liberal Democrats would scrap the lower apprenticeship minimum wage so that apprentices earn a fair wage while they develop skills.

"I hope Labour and the trades unions will support this.”

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: "Since taking office in 2010, the Conservative Government has delivered 5.7 million apprenticeships across the country, with 560 new apprenticeship starts in Surrey Heath in 2022-23.

"With nearly 700 apprenticeship training courses available now, young people have a diverse range of career pathways available to ensure they learn the skills they need to succeed in a career they love."