Great to see young people want to ‘learn and earn’

Gordon Birtwistle
Gordon Birtwistle

The other week began with some interesting meetings and a positive apprenticeship event.

I was delighted to be asked to speak at the launch of an incredible apprenticeship programme by the University of Law and Further Education colleges.

There are a lot of young people under pressure to go to university and study and this is providing life-changing opportunities for young people who might have not been able to financially support themselves through a law course. I feel very proud of this new partnership. As the workforce of the future, the legal profession will only be enriched by the contribution.

I was delighted to take some constituents round Parliament and show the wonderful building I am lucky enough to call one of my “offices”. I love telling people about the many fabulous traditions of the building! I then took them to the Members’ tearoom where you are able to get the most spectacular view of the Thames.

I was then straight off to visit a big Asda store at Crossharbour. This store is in the recruitment period for our next wave of apprenticeships and have a lot of interest and applications to their apprenticeship scheme. I met the store manager and their apprentices who were wonderful examples of individuals who want to “learn and earn”. Asda are very keen to upskill some of their current staff, so also encourage some existing staff to apply for the scheme, which in turn means some of their apprentices are a little older. It was a very busy and successful store with a great workforce.

I was then onto an event I was hosting and speaking at. EAL is the specialist industry awarding organisation for the engineering, manufacturing, building services and related sectors.

Along with IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry, they have supported the formation of the first Industry Apprentice Council (IAC).

The council will enable apprentices to contribute to national debates on apprenticeships and advise on policy and strategies for promoting apprenticeships to young people.

At this reception, we heard the stories of many apprentices which was very enlightening, but once again showed how we need to improve careers advice in schools.

I was then back to Burnley for a very busy few days. Thursday started with constituent appointments and then a network lunch at the Methodist Church. It was great to see so many familiar faces and the conversation was both interesting and productive.

It was also the fifth birthday of Edna who helps individuals with glaucoma. They help so many people in the community, and are supported by a number of Lib Dem Councillors who help financially through the Ward Opportunity Fund.

I then was straight on to see the business owner of Tangerine Limited who sell baby products and are looking to expand.

Friday was busy with constituent appointments as usual and then on Saturday I went to the a very entertaining show – “The Pajama Game” at St Cuthbert’s.

Sunday was a very moving day as it was Remembrance Sunday. I was astounded to see so many people there. I have gone for 35 years where there used to be about 100 residents and on Sunday there were 2,000 people showing their respect for all the fallen soldiers.