Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

The NHS apprentices I met last Friday, supported by Wakefield College, are an impressive group. From care assistants and decontamination experts, to porters and administrators, these young people have made some really good choices and are now learning and earning their way towards their future careers.

One young woman told me how she planned to continue studying and working in order to get a degree and fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse. Another young man spoke impressively of his daily commute from north Leeds, via two buses and a train, to get to Pinderfields for work each day.

These young people are what National Apprenticeship Week is all about. They’re seizing the opportunities being offered and really making the most of them. But despite some great local apprenticeships being offered locally by Wakefield College and others, the number of apprenticeships starts nationally has fallen in the last year; down by over 25,000.

And that’s why too many of our young people are still struggling once they finish school. Long term youth unemployment is at its highest level since the early 1990s. It’s a scandal that thousands of local young people aren’t getting the opportunities they need to get on and do well.

And it can’t be right for young people to face a future on benefits when they could and should be working and making a contribution to society. That’s why I want to a compulsory jobs guarantee for all young people who’ve been out of work for a year or more. These paid jobs would give young people access to the work experience, skills and training they need to build their long-term future. And this support would be paid for through a tax on bankers’ bonuses and reducing the tax relief on pension contributions to the highest earners.

All young people deserve and chance to get on, whether that’s through more education and qualifications, a job with training or a formal apprenticeship. The futures of those I met on Friday looked bright and I certainly wish them all well – they deserve great success.


I’m delighted to be once again fundraising for our fabulous Wakefield Hospice. A few years back they managed to persuade me to abseil down Wakefield Cathedral which tops most things for the scariest thing I’ve ever been asked to do. This time, I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground. The Wakefield Hospice annual 10 km run takes place next month and I’m hoping to put in a reasonable time as part of my preparations for the Marathon a couple of weeks afterwards.

Anyone who wants to support my run for this amazing local charity can do so via www.justgiving.com/teamedballs or contact my office on 0113 253 9466.

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Posted March 14th, 2014 by Ed