Dewsbury_Chuka.jpgShadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna joined Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Paula Sherriff to tour a local manufacturing success story, Sleepmode Ltd, last week.

The local family-run company started life as a small shop selling furniture in 1974 and then diversified into bedding, which they first started making from the garage at their home. 

Fast forward to 2015, and they now have five plants employing over 300 people, and they produce about 3,500 beds every week.

They can hardly keep up with demand and want to expand further, currently with 15 unfilled vacancies. But they simply can’t find the people with the right technical skills.

To help with this, a Labour Government would:

  • Introduce an Apprenticeship Guarantee by which every school leaver who gets the grades will be able to begin a high-quality apprenticeship, helping to boost technical skills for business.
  • Ensure that all young people study English and maths to 18 to boost basic numeracy and literacy.
  • Give all young people access to high quality careers advice and work experience so that young people have a good understanding of what it is to operate in industry, commerce and to work

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff said: “I’m delighted to welcome Chuka to Dewsbury and show him this manufacturing success story and for him to hear first-hand about the barriers to business growth and prosperity.

“The Tories claim that our economy is fixed and is on the right track, but that’s just not the case. Our economy in Dewsbury is simply not creating the productive, high-skilled and well-paid jobs that we need to raise living standards.

“There’s around 700,000 young people unemployed and too many of them do not have the skills they need for work.  But the number of young people starting apprenticeships has fallen in the past year.  We need a system which makes the best use of the talents of young people in Dewsbury. 

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Chuka Umunna said: “It was great to visit Sleepmode, a real success story of a business. They started out in the 1970s as a small family firm and now have five plants across Dewsbury making thousands of beds every week.

“The next Labour government will back innovative manufacturers like Sleepmode to succeed and create more high-skilled, better paid jobs. We’ll set up a proper British Investment Bank to ensure firms who want to invest and grow can access the finances they need, and we’ll boost quality apprenticeships.

“And we’ll devolve billions of pounds of government budgets away from Westminster and Whitehall and into regions so places like West Yorkshire can take their own decisions on transport, skills and infrastructure to allow businesses here to thrive.”

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