Heathrow Airport leads way investing in apprentices

A plane taking off from Heathrow.  Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A plane taking off from Heathrow. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The weeks are flying by and, before I knew it, I was back to London on Monday for Parliamentary business.

On Monday I was delighted to go to Downing Street to see Bloodhound’s SuperSonic Car that is being built and hopes to travel at 1,050 mph. It was thoroughly impressive and I spoke to the driver who is an ex RAF fighter pilot and he is confident it will succeed.

This venture comes as an apprenticeship initiative from engineering institutions to help change the clear skills shortage problem in UK engineering. British Engineering and innovation are part of our history of which we are rightly proud and Bloodhound is a great example of what our engineers can achieve.

I then went to Heathrow Airport, sadly not to jet off to an exotic destination, but to see the new Terminal 2 building which is still under construction and looks to be finished in September. I met one of their female engineers who had just finished her four-year apprenticeship and their engineering apprentices are hugely impressive; of the 350 engineering apprentices who started their training with Heathrow in 1977, more than 250 are still with them today. I was delighted to hear Heathrow plans to keep investing in apprenticeships in future.

I was then back to the chamber as I had arranged a backbench business debate on careers advice in schools. It was important to speak in the Chamber to highlight the matter of careers advice in schools for 12 to 16-year-olds and that the Government must improve careers advice and adopt a system to show young people what the future holds. Many young people are unaware of the possibilities out there and it is important we improve careers advice and encourage companies to go into schools. There is a major boom in manufacturing that is being put in doubt by a lack of skills. Careers advice for young people is an investment this Government must make.

On Tuesday I spoke at the London Apprenticeships Breakfast Summit at City Hall. Relating to apprenticeships across the capital, it was a chance to see the innovative work of London employers, colleges, training providers and apprentices. It was mainly concerned with hospitality and finance apprenticeships as these are the main areas in London due to the amount of manufacturing in the city.

I was then able to meet Jaguar Landrover. It was fantastic to hear this iconic British company is at full capacity at both factories of Jaguar and Landrover. As a company who export 90% of the cars they produce, they confirmed they were repatriating millions of pounds of components back to the UK from overseas. It was a great meeting and I was happy to discuss again the fantastic apprenticeship programme they provide.

The rest of the week was busy with meetings, general Parliamentary business and votes.

Friday’s surgery was busy as always and, despite the overcast weather, Saturday’s advice stall was busy, too. It was good to speak to constituents on a range of issues.

There was a bucket collection for the Prostate Scanner appeal and it was excellent that £358 was raised. This was down to the great effort and enthusiasm of my wife, Kathleen, and her team. I thank them for helping out.

On Sunday I attended Hapton Kite Festival. It was a fantastic community event that was not just kite flying. There were fun activities which included stalls, a brass band, medieval re-enactments and home-made cakes. I was delighted to be invited to this event which was great fun and wonderful to see some true community spirit. I am proud of the fantastic communities we have in our town.