Labour has demanded urgent action from the UK government after the largest independent provider (ITP) of apprenticeships and traineeships revealed they had not been given a single covid testing kits.
The Chief Executive of JTL, the largest ITP in England and Wales, said he was “horrified” to learn that they will have to wait until the end of March to receive Cornavirus testing kits for their thousands of students.
The UK government told 16 – 19 year-olds in England to return to their place of training or education this Monday, as part of its plan to begin reducing restrictions which starts with the reopening of education establishments.
Labour said this latest revelation in an ongoing saga of government failures and mishandling during the Covid pandemic is yet further evidence of neglect and incompetence at the heart of government.
Toby Perkins MP, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills, said: “Yet again, it is clear that vocational education is an after-thought for this Government.
“It is simply not good enough that there will be no access to Covid testing at independent training providers until April at the earliest, when Ministers have had months during lockdown to get this right.
“I urge Ministers to act urgently to ensure independent training providers are supported to provide a Covid-safe environment for the young people and adults that they work with.”
Jon Graham, JTL’s Chief Executive, said: “I was horrified to learn that apprentices will not have access to Covid testing in their place of learning until at least the end of the month.
“This sends completely the wrong messages to students, suggesting that they are not valued or appreciated, their welfare not as important and that choosing an apprenticeship is less worthwhile. All myths and preconceptions that the Government says it wants to eradicate.
“Playing fast and loose with the health and safety of our learners, their employers and communities they serve is very worrying indeed.”