The Gibraltar Government has “unashamedly” adopted the GSD’s policy on skills and apprenticeships given that its own has failed Gibraltar’s young people, the Leader of the Opposition Elliott Phillips said yesterday.
This follows Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s recent New Year’s message, which the GSD said, represents a “complete vindication of the hard work done by the Opposition in this area”.
Mr Phillips said: “Although I welcome the Chief Minister full adoption of the GSD’s apprenticeship policy he has wasted very valuable time and condemned a generation of young people to a serious lack opportunity of skilled work.”
“Instead of engaging in petty patio politics he should have constructively supported my motion which could have depoliticized the issue and seen the Government and Opposition work together for the good of community and our young people.”
“Instead he has put party politics and his narrow interests above the interests of our community and importantly young people.”
“Young people deserve better,” he said.
In a statement the GSD flagged how it outlined its own apprenticeship policy in October 2015 just before the last general election.
Since then the Opposition said it has relentlessly and persistently pursued its progressive policy on creating a modern apprenticeship and skills programme for young people.
Additionally, Mr Phillips has regularly raised this issue in and outside Parliament.
In 2016 Mr Phillips led on a motion inviting the Government to support the Opposition’s apprenticeship and skills programme.
“He urged Parliament that all members needed to focus on developing a training and skills programme through an apprenticeship scheme which delivered on the demands for traditional skills as well as new modern skills,” the statement read.
In 2016 Mr Phillips said: “We must not as a Parliament underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue and I would invite the Government to join us and the rest of the community and actively explore ways in which we can together develop an apprenticeship programme which meets the wider needs of our community.”
The GSD added: “Regrettable the Government could not see past its own political interests and rejected Mr Phillips Apprenticeships Motion in 2016.”
“The Chief Minister in his 2019 New Year message unequivocally accepted that the Government’s previously policy has failed abysmally.”
But, the GSD’s comments drew rebuke from Mr Picardo.
Responding from London he said: “Elliott Phillips just doesn’t seem to listen to what he is told in Parliament.”
“The Government already announced two years ago that we would be introducing the new ‘Technical Levels’ (or T-Levels) in Gibraltar at the same time as they are introduced in the UK.”
“This is the mechanism we are going to pursue in education in Gibraltar to ensure we provide for those of our students who are not academic.”
“This is a revolutionary change to education. Mr Phillips was in Parliament when it was announced. He must have missed it.”