House of Lords Speeches and Debates
Information about debate contributions made by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. Further information about the House of Lords can be found at the Hansard Report for UK Parliament.
15 October 2015
Today, trailblazer employer groups are setting new apprenticeship standards. However, progress is slow, with only 54 agreed. When new standards are agreed, there will still be much poor training and some bad employers out there. Ofsted is excellent, but its last annual report showed that it inspected just 16 employers and 40 independent learning providers that taught apprentices. It cannot monitor thousands of employers and hundreds of vocations. In Germany, the dual system relies on the chambers of commerce supervising training, assessing quality, and setting exams. In Britain, there is no such established industrial partnership driving quality. There is no clarity on how standards will be monitored or inspected in the future. We must create the capability in industry to drive up quality in the workplace.
10 September 2015
Increasing innovation spend requires more work than a tax cut. On infrastructure, it is easier to review than to decide. We need an infrastructure commission to get projects agreed, as Sir John Armitt has proposed. While we must demand business investment in skills, it would be a mistake to cut FE spending before they do.
21 July 2015
If businesses benefit from reduced corporation tax, they should contribute to improving productivity. Industry should help to design the levy but it must not be delayed or watered down. A target of 3 million apprenticeships has been set. Without the levy, only cheap, low-skill apprenticeships would be offered, as is happening now. This means that the funding from the apprenticeship levy is essential to transforming technical education in Britain. The Government should set out the detail of their plans and how they will be delivered.
05 March 2015
How can we do better? First, we must offer all young people the chance to advance their careers while still at school, not just those destined for higher education. This requires a greater variety of educational provision, which could be delivered through vocational courses, specialist schools, university technical colleges or even by industrial partners—provision by industrial partners is growing.
22 January 2015
Infrastructure assessments would create a better understanding of future needs and lead to stronger medium-term plans under departmental leadership. Ministers would have greater certainty about resources as their party would have been consulted on priorities from the beginning. Now Ministers only have a choice between the plans of their predecessors and further delay. With improved advance planning, Ministers could better set priorities and choose which projects should go ahead.
23 October 2014
To offer quality apprenticeships, smaller businesses need support to impart quality skills, with a curriculum that they own and help deliver. We therefore need to improve the skills provision of FE colleges and their reputation with local businesses. This is essential if we are to deliver courses that employers will value, pay for and send their young workers from the factory floor to college to complete.
10 June 2014
The total number of apprentices matters little, but the quality of skills training each apprentice receives matters a great deal. The truth is that this can vary widely. Young people know this, which is why the best apprenticeships are massively over- subscribed. To improve our skill base, we need better vocational and technical education for school and college leavers and a better integration—that is very important—of higher and technical education, even if that means a smaller overall total of apprenticeships.
16 January 2014
British business has invested in the automotive sector to create innovative products, skilled people and efficient processes. That sector was in the dumps five years ago but, as a result of that investment, it is succeeding in the global market. Our challenge is to increase the number of industries where this is happening and to spread growth down the supply chain. This will take time and it is a task for many Governments, not just the current one, but the prize is surely worth the effort.
18 July 2013
Governments can never guarantee, or even predict, disruptive innovation. Instead, they should focus on incremental change, supporting infrastructure and innovation, thus creating a framework in which innovators prosper. This means better understanding of what government does well and where it must do better. In this spirit I propose a practical change to encourage the effectiveness of growth policy. It is simply that we commit to a higher standard of evaluation of public policies to support growth.
11 July 2013
Many of our health career structures and much of our training still seem stuck in the 19th century. From care assistants to consultants, from matrons to health technologists, we need to rethink career development in the health service totally. Even our definition of what a doctor is will have to change in the future.
16 May 2013
I want our Government to take a practical, long-term approach to creating growth. One way that can be done is by supporting reshoring, which when I put it in plain English means bringing back the jobs that left Britain due to globalisation and cheap labour overseas. In both manufacturing and services, rising wages abroad and technological innovation at home could mean that these jobs come back, and we should make such a return our priority.
09 October 2012
Since the financial crisis, Jaguar Land Rover has created several thousand new jobs and apprenticeships. This is the sort of “industrial renaissance” we need. It has happened; it has not taken a long time—it has happened over the last three years.
21 June 2012
Manufacturing cannot be made to grow at the click of a button. You have to create a sustainable ecosystem, which takes skill. Real change is not about numbers and training schemes; it is about changing our whole culture, from companies to government to schools.