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Imagine thousands of young people cheering Prime Minister Theresa May in a similar manner to those singing songs about Jeremy Corbyn. Unthinkable, yes, but not impossible. And, as the late Sir Nicholas Winton said, “If it is not impossible, there must be a way to do it”.

At the General Election, we missed a significant opportunity. The Labour Party was galvanising young voters by offering to get rid of tuition fees and ‘deal with’ past debt. Whatever back-tracking they are doing now, it was a powerful message. This was not just about money, but saying to students, ‘we are on your side, we will be with you through your studies and look after your economic security’.

Our response was feeble, to say the least. We looked like the hardnosed businessmen from those old Virgin Train adverts, which made everyone who could not afford a train – stuck in a car on the motorway – look weak and insensible.

This was all the more astonishing because, with the right narrative, message and campaign, Conservatives did actually have something to offer to younger voters.

It could have shown that the Conservatives are the party of the ladder of opportunity.

Conservatives’ job in Government is to give every young person an equal chance — whatever their background — to climb that ladder and help them up, step by step, to get the skills and training they need so they can get jobs, security and prosperity for their future.

Furthermore, whilst it is great that more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to universities than ever before, I am concerned about both the level of interest rates for students and whether they are getting value for money. Some universities are charging high fees, some are paying their senior management huge salaries, job destinations for students postuniversity are often very poor.

We can’t get rid of all tuition fees however, not just because of our difficult economic finances, but due to the need to share the burden of the cost of universities, fairly with students and the taxpayer – especially those from working class backgrounds who may not have gone to university.

We should not just say no to abolishing tuition fees and leave it at that. We should have a different and special offer to every young person from the age of 16 and beyond.

We should give every young person who wants it the chance to take up an apprenticeship from level two right up to degree level. Not only will there be no loan or debt after, but apprentices will be paid at least the apprentice minimum wage. The higher the level of training, the higher the apprentice salary. At present, over 80% of apprentices are paid over the adult minimum wage.

An apprenticeship can be taken up in almost every field of work from business administration to coding, from engineering to healthcare, from nursing to policing. And in all the traditional crafts too.

Degree apprenticeships are being offered by more and more universities with prestigious companies like Jaguar and Accenture. Young people have a chance to get a degree, an apprenticeship, be paid without any loan, and are virtually guaranteed job at the end of your training.

For those who might be concerned about the parity of esteem between apprenticeships and higher education, it is worth noting that apprenticeship qualifications are highly prestigious. The new Apprenticeship Standards coming through are designed by employers and the new Institute for Apprenticeships.

Apprentices from level two onwards end up earning much more over a lifetime than the average employee. Ninety percent of apprentices either get jobs after their training – usually in the companies, where their apprenticeships took place, or they go on to additional education.

All this is paid by the Apprenticeship Levy on big business, which will see £2.5 billion spent in England by 2020, double what it was in 2010. The Apprenticeship Levy is about ensuring that those with the broadest shoulders – the larger companies with wage bills over £3million – help pay for government’s apprenticeship revolution. It will change behaviours in the way that companies train their workforce and will mean that smaller companies will have the funds to also train apprentices.

We also believe that the wealthiest must make a bigger contribution to our society. That is why we introduced the Apprenticeship Levy.

We should look at raising the Apprenticeship Levy if needed and to see how more of the funds raised can help those from disadvantaged backgrounds climb the apprenticeship ladder.

Between 2010 and 2015, there were over two million apprentices. We currently have an additional 900,000 apprentices, the highest in our in Britain’s history.

If you are a young person and want something real, to climb that ladder of opportunity, to get that apprenticeship, so that you can get the job, security, prosperity you need, join the Conservatives. Become part of the apprenticeship revolution and help us build an ‘Apprenticeship Nation’.

Not a bad offering for our young people? Just because we missed this opportunity at the election, we really do still have the policy architecture for this ladder of opportunity. All that the Conservative Government has to do is to communicate properly what is possible and help people climb it.

The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP is the Chair of the Education Select Committee. This is an article from Bright Blue’s latest magazine ‘Capitalism in crisis?