Mansfield MP delighted to see Government sharing his vision for further education
I was delighted to be recognised by Government for my work in education this week and given a new role, as a further education (FE) ambassador supporting the Department of Education in its quest to make FE - our local colleges - a key priority.
I've been working to raise my thoughts and ideas in this area over several years now, but particularly recently about how colleges can play a big role in the coronavirus recovery
I’ve been really pleased to hear Government echo those thoughts, and confirm a whole range of support for training and skills in the statement last week.
Between new plans for traineeships, relaxing regulations and offering new funding for apprentices, the 'kickstarter' job scheme for young people and a host of other great proposals, training and new qualifications are getting a big boost.
I've also suggested that we should lift the limits on smaller businesses taking on apprentices, simplify that system, and offer guaranteed level three (A-level equivalent) training to people to help them find jobs in new areas as the economy changes.
I hope some more of these ideas will be taken on, and I'm really pleased to now have this formal role that means I can feed in and discuss them directly with the department.
Mansfield’s West Nottinghamshire College is also doing so well right now after a tough few years.
We secured a huge amount of funding from Government to get it back on track and it's been a pleasure to work with them on all sorts of projects.
A new partnership with Nottingham Trent University opens up new opportunities for people to access high quality university qualifications right here in Mansfield and the Mansfield Town FC Academy is growing and also heading to the college.
There's so much really great work happening over on Derby Road.
Beyond the economic recovery, we need to make sure FE is seen as a great option for our young people at 16.
Technical and vocational education is equally as valuable as the academic stuff, in many cases more so, and we owe it to every young person to help them make the right choices.
More Government support for FE colleges could be a huge opportunity for Mansfield.
Ben Bradley is MP for Mansfield.