GORDON BIRTWISTLE MP: Take on 100 apprentices in 100 days challenge

we had a fantastic manufacturing summit at Burnley College - the college were absolutely brilliant, and the event was a great success. Top firms from across the North-West gathered at the 170-strong event to hear Business Secretary Vince Cable and leading figures from manufacuring discuss the skills shortage. Wrapping up the event, I challenged all the firms present to take on an apprentice each - the aim is to get an extra 100 apprentices in the next 100 days.

Burnley and the rest of Lancashire is brimming with talented youngsters and successful firms who need more skilled workers. The area is known for its manufacturing prowess and I also want it to be known for leading the way in training apprentices and skilled workers. Get in touch if you would like to be involved!

On Tuesday last week I had a very interesting meeting about our fire station in Burnley. I was pleased to hear that Burnley is to get a new fire station, on the existing site, within the next 18 months. The new modern building will include facilities the local community can use. I’m really pleased about this new investment in Burnley, a really positive move.

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After Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday I met a group of about 40 young people from Stonyhurst College and showed them round the House of Commons - it was really great meeting them and talking with them about how Parliament works.

Later that day I had an extremely interesting meeting to discuss the future development and manufacturing of wind turbines in the UK - currently all the turbines used in the UK have to be imported. The aim is that with the help of the coalition government, turbine manufacturers will come back to the UK. This should benefit Burnley, as local firms would be able to get involved in the production of components for the turbines.

On Thursday in Parliament there was a debate on the subject of wild animals in circuses - though there wasn’t a vote on this in the end. Many people have written to me with their concerns that the use of wild animals such as big cats and elephants in circuses is cruel. It is a sign of our humanity that we treat animals properly, and I share their view that this practice should end.

On Friday I had an extremely busy day in the constituency office, meeting lots of constituents and getting through local and national casework. Early on in the day I met Mark Brearly, the new Chief Executive of the Hospital Trust. I expressed very forcefully my concerns about our hospital services, and he gave me strong assurances that the Trust is looking at a number of new projects for the hospital. Later that day, I met a large group of residents with councillor for Daneshouse Abdul Malik - to campaign for better bus services in their area, and across Burnley. I also visited local manufacturers Rectella - a firm that manufactures and distributes barbecues - and was very impressed by their operation.

As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any assistance with any issues or problems.