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National Express praised for apprenticeships work

Labour shadow transport minister Mary Creagh MP toured the firm’s repair depot in Fox Hollies Road, Acocks Green where she spoke with young trainees

A National Express bus in Birmingham city centre

Birmingham bus company National Express has been praised by a shadow minister for boosting quality apprenticeships in the city.

Labour shadow transport minister Mary Creagh MP toured the firm’s repair depot in Fox Hollies Road, Acocks Green where she spoke with young trainees.

She is the latest national politician to visit and pay tribute to National Express following recent visits by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Tory employment minister Esther McVey.

Mrs Creagh was also told about the Labour City Council’s plan to set up a Birmingham Apprenticeship Agency to support businesses offering quality training to get some of the regions 6,000 long term unemployed young people off the dole.

She said: “I spoke with people who had started a few days earlier and you would think they had been there for years the way they talked about braking compression systems and so on. They were right at home.

“There is a powerful message that people are learning by doing. It is not just mechanical engineering, but increasingly electrical engineering is as important.

“These young people have great careers ahead of them, whether that is with National Express or moving on to other employers like Jaguar Land Rover.”

She said that across the transport industry has a whole, both road and rail, there had been little investment in training and apprentices over the last 20 years - but with many older engineers approaching retirement a new generation, such as those being trained at National Express, are much needed.”

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