Leaders were guests of honour as they highlighted to students the benefits of the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ initiative, during a Question Time-style debate.
Panel guests included Mansfield MP Ben Bradley, Sarah Mayfield, head of higher education at Nottingham Trent University’s Mansfield Hub, Theresa Hodgkinson, chief executive of Ashfield District Council and Martin Rigley MBE, chief executive of Lindhurst Engineering.
The panel briefed the students about the government’s new initiatives to ‘level up’ the country, backed by £860 million, to better the high streets, schools, colleges and public sector jobs outside of London. It means that a number of local areas across the country will receive investment, including places such as Ashfield, which will receive more than £62 million, and Mansfield, which will receive £12.3 million, to improve areas such as business, education, health and wellbeing and visitor economy.
Students posed questions about a range of subjects including how could better rail networks help infrastructure and connectivity to new jobs in the area? Other matters that were raised included how injections of money are hoped to be given to uplift accommodation and standards of living in deprived areas.
Theresa Hodgkinson said: “I think the questions that the students posed were very challenging which shows the level of detail which they wanted to get from the panel.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the level of challenging that the panel got – there are some very brave students here, showing that they weren’t afraid to ask those supplementary questions.”
Ben Bradley said: “This generation of people will see the most opportunities from the funding in these communities.
"In five or ten years’ time when some of this work comes to fruition and those jobs are created, these are the young people will hopefully have better life chances as a result of the things we’re doing.”
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