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Labour’s mayoral candidate for the West Midlands has claimed he has placed skills and adult education at the centre of his campaign, while others have chosen to focus on other policy areas in the build-up to local elections.

Richard Parker, who is hoping to win sitting Tory metro-mayor Andy Street’s job, says his “absolute priority” is creating “new jobs and training opportunities” in every town in the region.

His manifesto, due to be published today, ambitiously promises to “guarantee” an apprenticeship place for every young person who wants one.

Apprenticeship statistics for the West Midlands show that in 2022/23, only 22 per cent of apprenticeship starters were under the age of 19.

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