Speaking at EEF’s National Manufacturing Conference, Miliband said the public sector is “uniquely bad” at offering apprenticeships.
“If you want to change the culture it needs to be done in both the public and private sector,” he said.
Miliband added that there is a “stigma” around apprenticeships as they are seen as an inferior route to university, and said the Labour party would see it as a “shared national mission” to change this if elected.
He said that in 10 years’ time he would like to see as many young people leaving school at 18 and doing an apprenticeship as going to university.
He added: “As a stepping stone to that, we could say to our young people ‘if you get the grades at 18 we will guarantee you an apprenticeship’… The signals that the government sends about both university and vocational educational are fundamental.”
Also speaking at the conference was Williams Martini Racing HR director Nicola Salter. She said Williams aims to make its apprenticeship intake as inclusive as possible.
She added that the company works with schools to encourage young people to consider a career in the manufacturing industry.
Williams Martini Racing also runs an apprenticeship “exchange” with Jaguar Land Rover. Salter said the programme provides “valuable insight and experience that is hugely rewarding for the apprentices”.