Last night we had a consultation event, inviting people from Gloucestershire to come and talk about our thoughts and feelings on Youth education and unemployment and what Policy should look like in this area. It is the second one I have attended and it was really good to be able to talk about what should be happening in a proactive way. The consultation was hosted by Jim Murphy MP who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and he stayed in Gloucester for a meal with members too which made for a really good night.
Employment and education are two things that are close to my heart,and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to highlight a few bugbears of my own, like the way the education system is not aligned with industry in terms of what they both need. Also we are so driven to give kids certificates, we forget to realise that there is life after school and don’t take the time to really understand what motivates them and therefore what they could be doing with much more enthusiasm and success.
But also there is the need for communication to happen between Industry and Education. Industry really sets the requirements of what the education system should be producing and government should be the facilitator of that interface – but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Also the ability to realise that University isn’t the only fruit. Vocational Qualifications are very key to our future in conjunction with, not in competition with, the academic routes.
There was lots of really good debate, and it was not just Labour members who were there, we has the chair of the FSB, Mark Owen and other people providing their viewpoint.
This was followed by a meal, organised by Mark Hobbs, and was a really the opportunity to kick back a bit and relax with friends really made a great end to the evening. I would like to see more of these types of events and hope that they continue in the same vein.