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Gordon has met and sat down with half a dozen young local Apprentices who are all pioneers on an innovative new scheme to support and mentor 11- 16 year olds in the town's schools.

They are part of Blackpool Council's HeadStart project, a Big Lottery funded multi-agency programme building resilience for those young people across Blackpool. In 2016, The Big Lottery Fund awarded Blackpool Council £10 million to support them in these areas over the next 5 years.

He chatted to them for nearly an hour about the projects they are involved with and their impressions and feedback from their work, which will deliver them a mix of Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications covering variously Children and social work as well as digital, creative and business admin skills. This includes an easy to read “Resilience Framework” which they have created to give young people practical ways about how they can make improvements to their everyday lives, including making them more effective learners and communicators. Video and online resources including some with the 11-16 year olds as presenters, via YouTube and other social media, are among the other materials the Apprentices have produced.

Gordon said: “It was really stimulating to have the time and opportunity to talk about their work, the satisfaction they were getting out of it, but also about the nature of learning and the sort of qualities their Apprenticeships were developing in them to the benefit of their future careers. It was great at the end of an action packed National Apprenticeship Week where I met Apprentices covering areas as diverse as catering, brewing, renewables and nuclear energy, as well as giving a keynote speech at the Semta Skills Awards and highlighting the benefits across the engineering sector, to see such promise and enthusiasm from other young Apprentices here in Blackpool.'

“We all know the challenges for young people here to develop their skills and self- confidence, particularly in parts of the town that can be very transient, with high levels of deprivation, often in poor housing conditions and sometimes unsettled family backgrounds. This can sometimes be a challenging and unsettling environment for young people to grow up in.

“This Headstart Apprenticeship programme offers a potential double benefit - giving the Apprentices themselves a varied and creative programme to qualify in, while helping empower hundreds of young people in Blackpool's schools, both in a group but also a one- to- one basis, with life skills for their future prospects and careers, and in conjunction with input from local charities such as MIND.

“I stressed to the Apprentices and the Headstart administrator from the Council that it was crucial this five year programme laid down firm principles and transferable skills and materials that can leave a lasting legacy for schools and organisations to carry on after the funding is finished. I’ll do what I can to continue encouraging young people like these to make a success of Headstart.”

Josh Thompson, one of the HeadStart apprentices said: “It was a fantastic experience to be able to meet our local MP and to generally care about and discuss what we were doing the context of National Apprenticeship Week. Something I shall never forget!”

James Woolaston, HeadStart’s Digital Apprentice added: “I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity. For my own personal development I believe it has allowed me to grow as a young professional, and I look forward to us all building this resilience revolution in Blackpool together.”

Gordon meets with HeadStart Apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week

Gordon has met and sat down with half a dozen young local Apprentices who are all pioneers on an innovative new scheme to support and mentor 11- 16 year olds...

Gordon had a busy diary for National Apprenticeship Week (5th to 9th March) last week. Here is a round up of what he got up to in Parliament as Labour's Shadow Apprenticeship Minister, but also in Blackpool South as the local Member of Parliament.

On the Monday Gordon attended the FE Week & AELP AAC Apprenticeship Awards parliamentary reception. This was the first year it was held and was a platform to celebrate the amazing achievements made by apprenticeship providers and employers across the UK.

Tuesday, Adam Evenson, Gordon's recently appointed constituency office apprentice wrote for Labour List about his experience of being a level 3 apprentice in a MP's office. You can read the article in full by clicking here .

Staying on the Tuesday Gordon met with with young apprentices from the pub, bar, casual dining and brewing industry (pictured). Gordon chatted to Richard and Connor - both doing a new Level 4 Brewer Apprenticeship backed by the British Beer and Pub Association. He said: "What they are doing is a great advert for progression in the sector."

Wednesday, Gordon wrote his own article for Huffington Post outlining how "Labour Will Make Sure Everyone Will Have The Opportunity For A Life-Changing, Quality Apprenticeship". 

On Thursday Gordon was back in the constituency with his first meeting of the day at the opening of the new Lancashire Energy HQ. He met with a number of apprentices doing higher and degree apprenticeships in engineering with Westinghouse Nuclear Fuels. He said: "I think this is an excellent facility to have and great addition to the other campuses the college already has. It will give the apprentices I have met this morning the opportunity to work and train on existing renewable technologies but also emerging ones."

Gordon ended the week on Friday meeting with level 2 and level 3 apprentices from Blackpool Council's HeadStart programme. Afterwards he commented: "They are doing some really exciting work helping young people (10 to 16) across Blackpool learn new skills, fulfill their potential and be more resilient in all walks of life. The funding for HeadStart will last five years and I look forward to working and engaging with them further so their work has a lasting legacy in Blackpool."

To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week, click here

Gordon's National Apprenticeship Week Diary

Gordon had a busy diary for National Apprenticeship Week (5th to 9th March) last week. Here is a round up of what he got up to in Parliament as Labour's...

Gordon has written to the Chairman of the English Football League, Ian Lenagan, regarding the ongoing problems at Blackpool FC between the club's owners and the supporters. You can see the full text of the letter below.

9th March 2018

Dear Mr Lenagan,

Blackpool Football Club & Supporter Engagement

You will be aware of the continued concerns and anxiety across Blackpool about the ongoing problems between the owners of Blackpool FC and its fans and supporters. It is a situation that has caused much sadness to people in the town and my constituents. Over the past five years this has resulted in thousands of people (some lifelong fans) choosing to boycott Bloomfield Road in protest at the club’s running.

I am glad to see that you have agreed in principle to meet with representatives from the Blackpool Supporters Trust (BST) and other fan groups. I note that that you have offered to include local MPs in the process and I would like to be part of it. The meeting is an important step forward because I know that the BST – who represent many of Blackpool FC’s supporters in the town have been concerned and raised with me the EFL’s reluctance to engage with them on the problems around the club’s ownership.

I have consistently, not least in conjunction with the late Jimmy Armfield, urged the club’s owners to engage with the fans, talk to the BST and open up its governance to them. In my latest meeting with the BST last month, we discussed this and the urgent need for organisations like yourself to engage strongly with the owners as well. The BST also raised with me their request to see a case review. I support the BST and the use of Blackpool FC as a potential template for you in this area, which could be useful in other circumstances affecting clubs and supporters.

You will also appreciate there has been major concern about this in Parliament – which led to a special debate last year in which I and many others spoke criticising the lack the lack of action by the FA on this matter. I believe the EFL urgently needs to take its share of responsibilities on this matter as well. I have previously backed a Bill in Parliament by my Labour colleague Clive Efford MP that would have given accredited groups such as the BST greater say and influence over how their club is run. I believe this should be part of your discussion because I think it this will help us move forward in resolving some of the problems we face at Blackpool.

Clubs like ours have a proud history, going back to our epic victory in the 1953 cup final and the heroic careers of both Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield. If the situation at Blackpool FC continues to go unchallenged and the EFL continue to fail to engage with supporters’ groups, it could have both significant and long lasting damage not just on the club and the community it serves, but also on the reputation of the EFL itself.

Best wishes

Gordon Marsden – Member of Parliament for Blackpool South

CC Blackpool Supporters Trust

Gordon's letter to the English Football League: Blackpool FC and Supporter Engagement

Gordon has written to the Chairman of the English Football League, Ian Lenagan, regarding the ongoing problems at Blackpool FC between the club's owners and the supporters. You can see...

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