David Cameron: Don't blame migrants for coming to UK
Published: 28th Oct 2013 17:43:31
Migrants "should not be blamed" for coming to Britain to work, and tighter immigration controls alone will not create more opportunities for British workers, David Cameron has said.
The prime minister said there were UK factories where more than half the workforce were from eastern Europe.
Changes to welfare and education had to accompany tougher entry rules if UK workers were to gain from the recovery.
But the UK Independence Party said Mr Cameron's comments were "hollow".
The government has announced an overhaul of workplace apprenticeships to put more emphasis on maths and English skills to increase the level of independent assessment and to make schemes last longer.
More than 60 companies, including Tesco, Barclays and HSBC, have also agreed to support a new vocational training scheme - providing 100,000 places over the next two years - to give people work experience and boost their employability.
Although the overall unemployment rate has been steadily declining and there are a record number of people in work, levels of long-term unemployment and youth joblessness remain stubbornly high.
Speaking to workers at the Mini factory near Oxford, Mr Cameron warned of a potential skills gap among British workers that could hurt their prospects and the long-term growth of the British economy.
The danger for countries like Britain is 'Yes, you see the economy recover; yes, you see jobs coming; but you leave people behind who have not got have the right qualifications from school”
He said he had been told by German car company Mercedes that it was struggling to fill the 5,000 places on its apprentice scheme, despite have 30,000 applications, because many of those did not have the basic qualifications needed.
"The danger for countries like Britain is 'Yes, you see the economy recover; yes, you see jobs coming; but you leave people behind who have not got have the right qualifications from school.
"I don't want that to happen in our country," he said.
No-one should be excluded from the benefits of the economic recovery, which was gathering speed, Mr Cameron said.
"People also talk about the challenge of tackling immigration. Of course there is a challenge. Here is how I see it - immigration, welfare and education are totally linked.
"You can go round factories in the country where half of the people in the factory have come from Poland, Lithuania or Latvia. You can't blame them. They have got to work hard. They see the jobs, they come over and they do them.
"But as a country, what we ought to be saying is no. Let's get our education system right so we are producing people out of our schools and colleges who are fully capable of doing those jobs which are being made available.
"Second, let's reform the welfare system so it does not pay to be out of work and it pays you to be in work. And thirdly, let's have the sensible controls on immigration."
The prime minister said a cap on the number of migrants from outside the EU was part of the government's attempt to substantially reduce levels of net migration.
But UKIP said leaving the EU was the only way to fully take control of the UK's borders.
"David Cameron is once again looking to pull the wool over the eyes of the British public," its leader Nigel Farage said.
"He has finally acknowledged the damage that unrestricted eastern European immigration has had on the prospects of British workers, especially our youngsters.
"Yet this is the same prime minister who supports Turkish membership of the EU and the open borders that come with it. The rise of UKIP may have prompted David Cameron into talking about immigration
"But whilst we remain in the EU, talk is all we can do."
In July, Business Minister Matthew Hancock said companies have a "social duty" to hire local workers before recruiting abroad, echoing controversial comments made by Gordon Brown in 2007 when he was prime minister.
Labour said the government was letting down the 50% of people who did not go to university.
"Labour will create a new universal standard for apprenticeships so that they are qualifications that employers and young people can trust, and use public procurement to create thousands of new apprenticeship opportunities," said the party's higher education spokesman Liam Byrne.
The latest figures for net migration to the UK show it increased from 153,000 to 176,000 in the year to December 2012, bucking a trend in which totals have fallen steadily from above 200,000 since 2011.
While the number of immigrants arriving in the country remained virtually unaltered over the period, the increase was driven by a change in the number of people leaving Britain.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2013. David Cameron: Don't blame migrants for coming to UK [Online] (Updated 28th Oct 2013)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1517722/David-Cameron-Dont-blame-migrants-for-coming-to-UK [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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