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 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 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.
Gordon Marsden – Member of Parliament for Blackpool South
CC Blackpool Supporters Trust
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...
Gordon has warned the Tory Government they will not be “forgiven” by people on the Fylde if they override Lancashire County Council once again and allow fracking at Roseacre Wood.
He has consistently opposed fracking here on the Fylde. He has backed the peaceful protests and met with local campaigners at Preston New Road. He and Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith also spoke in the Committee debate where Labour MPs opposed the Government’s proposals against fracking in national parks.
Following a revised application by Cuadrilla at Roseacre Wood, the county council last week passed a motion stating “This Council believes that local authorities should retain the powers to approve or reject planning applications.” They have now written to a Select Committee looking into planning guidance on fracking.
Gordon said: “I completely support the continued opposition from Lancashire County Council and many others locally to the Government riding roughshod over local democracy at Preston New Road. If they do it once again with the revised application at Roseacre, local people will not forgive them. The Tory Government should instead follow Labour’s committment to ban shale gas and back the clean renewable energies of the future.”
He added: “Fracking is not just an environmental danger to our countryside and public health - but evidence is also piling up about how little the economic benefits will be. The Energy Minister Claire Perry last week admitted the figures suggesting there may be 155 wells across the UK by around 2025 are ‘now considered to be out of date’. Locally I also believe it will also impact on jobs and services vital for Blackpool’s visitor economy.
“The Government needs to listen to the county council motion and to the continued protests of local people on fracking, whether it’s on the Preston New Road site or the proposed one at Roseacre Wood. Local decision making, rather than Whitehall dictating, should rule.”
Gordon has warned the Tory Government they will not be “forgiven” by people on the Fylde if they override Lancashire County Council once again and allow fracking at Roseacre Wood....
Gordon has joined animal welfare and veterinary organisations in calling for a ban on electric shock collars for dogs.
He has joined forces with the Kennel Club, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the British Veterinary Association and the Dogs Trust in calling in Parliament for a ban on the use and sale of electric shock collars on dogs.
The event gave MPs an opportunity to call upon the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove to open a consultation on banning the sale and use of these cruel and unnecessary devices.
Electric shock collars are fitted around a dog’s neck and deliver an electric shock via a remote control or automatic trigger. They train dogs through fear of further punishment by administering shocks to the dog when they do not perform and cause significant suffering.
The use of devices has been banned in Wales since 2010 and the Scottish Government recently announced plans to follow suit. In addition, bans are in place across Europe and much of Australia.
Research published by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) concluded that the use of electric shock collars as a training method has long-term negative welfare impacts on dogs. And an independent survey by the Kennel Club found that 74 per cent of the public would support the Government in introducing a ban on their use.
Gordon said: “I'm glad to come along here today to show my support for a ban on the use and sale of electric shock collars. People across Blackpool South have been contacting me to urge Government to act on this, and as someone who has had dogs I particularly support this campaign.'
“I know from my own experience with my dogs that the way to the heart of a well-trained dog is patience, consistency and as all the groups supporting this campaign have said the use of humane, positive and reward and affection based methods. Electric shock collars have been shown to be both detrimental to dog welfare and unpopular amongst the public - it could also be traumatic particularly to rescue dogs of whom they are too many.
“Other methods of modifying behaviour, including among the minority of aggressive dogs, have been shown to work far better. That's why it is right for the Government to show their commitment to dog welfare. It's why I'm calling on Michael Gove, the Minister responsible in this area, to act now on the evidence and ban these cruel and unnecessary devices.”
Gordon has joined animal welfare and veterinary organisations in calling for a ban on electric shock collars for dogs. He has joined forces with the Kennel Club, Battersea Dogs &...
This week is National Apprenticeship Week and as an apprentice for the shadow minister for apprenticeships, Gordon Marsden, I understand its importance. I have been doing my Level 3 business administration apprenticeship since the New Year in Gordon’s constituency office.
I’ve come to this apprenticeship having already gained a Law degree, and before speaking to my training provider, North Lancs Training Group, I wasn’t aware I could still do an apprenticeship at 24.
I have always liked the idea of learning on-the-job. The nature of an MP’s office is that there is seldom a typical day, but I do have certain daily tasks. My morning starts off looking at local media sources and highlighting any stories that Gordon needs to see with communications manager Andrew. I scan the stories and send them to his email noting all the headlines in the email, which is helpful when I need to find the news stories again.
I then move on to helping our caseworker, Gillian, and office manager John, by listening to voicemails and calling the constituents back to take initial details and ask them to write to our office. I take notes in case a constituent isn’t able to contact the office in writing.
I am also given the opportunity to deal directly with some of the cases, which involves contacting various agencies about the constituent’s issues and sending letters or emails to constituents about the actions we have taken. I recently contacted the Pension Credit Service (for which I was personally thanked by the constituent!) and for another case I got in touch with Blackpool council to solve the problem of an untidy garden at an unoccupied property.
I am currently involved in organising a ‘Just Listening’ faith and politics event, which Gordon has held for some years now with community faith leaders across the constituency. The project requires me to compile a list of contact details for all places of worship in Blackpool, draft questions that will help stimulate discussion and find local news stories relating to those questions. This will be a project for my off-the-job training, so I’m looking forward to working with my trainer and Gordon’s office on developing more opportunities in this area as my apprenticeship develops.
The other tasks range from writing press releases for the local media to stuffing envelopes for various events and meetings (less glamorous). In a small business office, like an MP’s constituency office, everyone needs to pitch in. The varied nature of the work also calls for a good relationship with Gordon’s Westminster office, such as when we research policy issues for individuals and organisations that Gordon is due to meet.
I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship: you earn a qualification whilst gaining practical work experience and being paid. National Apprenticeship Week is a great initiative to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships. To find out how you can become an apprentice, look at what is available to you in your local area, contact local training providers, check out the National Apprenticeship website – or even contact your local MP.
Adam Evenson is Gordon's apprentice.
This week is National Apprenticeship Week and as an apprentice for the shadow minister for apprenticeships, Gordon Marsden, I understand its importance. I have been doing my Level 3 business...
Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgeries this Friday (23rd February).
This will take place from 3.00pm to 4.30pm at his constituency office at 304 Highfield Road, Blackpool, FY4 3JX.
Appointments are required and can be made by either calling 01253 344143 or emailing email@example.com
Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgeries this Friday (23rd February). This will take place from 3.00pm to 4.30pm at his constituency office at 304 Highfield Road,...
Gordon has written the following article for Huffington Post in response to the Prime Minister's announcement of a review into Higher Education. You can read it in full below.
By Gordon Marsden: Theresa May’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding has taken as long to come to the stage as some ageing rock star’s farewell tour. The lengthy leaks that preceded her speech confused rather than clarified, and the Review’s ‘terms of reference’ did the same.
The irony of the Prime Minister speaking at a Further Education college while omitting any strategy for 16-18 year olds apparently eluded her. Although she spoke about shiny new Institutes of Technology, what the FE sector desperately needs now, after almost eight years of Tory-led rule, is genuine parity of esteem – long discussed but not delivered – for its students and staff.
The Prime Minister talked about lifelong learning, but with no recognition of the havoc the Tories have created since they came to power in 2010: tripling HE tuition fees, scrapping maintenance grants and introducing Adult Learning Loans, half of which have been handed back unused to the Treasury. The Open University, part-time courses and lifelong learning across a swathe of universities have fallen victim to years of relentless Tory cuts.
Her reluctance to back maintenance grants, as well as the way she ducked and dived around questions from the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, painfully revealed the hollowness of the Prime Minister’s speech. Even as she reluctantly acknowledged the issue, she implied it was a problem for universities and colleges to address rather than government.
By contrast, Labour has had a firm commitment on reintroducing grants for nearly two years now; a fully funded and costed policy, along with reintroduction of the Education Maintenance Allowance, both of which gave a helping hand to young people before the Tories scrapped them.
Labour’s emphasis on maintenance grants is now being echoed by a rainbow coalition across the education sector: Universities UK and Million Plus, the (Conservative) Chair of the Education Select Committee and the recently published report of Treasury Select Committee, also chaired by a Conservative MP. Even the Vice-Chancellor of the private University of Buckingham, Sir Antony Seldon, has chipped in his support.
Many across the Higher Education sector are warning that access and participation funding for disadvantaged young people could be cut to pay for whatever new proposals the government pushes. A token reduction in fees, without matching the new funding Labour offers would take billions out of the sector while students would still face massive debts. That option, trailed by the government over the weekend, will satisfy no one.
If Theresa May really wanted to break down the ‘false boundaries’ between HE and FE she talked about, 16-18 year olds would be in this Review. It is Labour that promised in our manifesto to set up a Commission to align HE and FE, making the UK fit for purpose for the challenges we face into the 2030s. It is Labour that has talked about allowing credit accumulation across HE and FE to reflect the revolving mix of skills and learning that both young and older learners will need to have. It is Labour with our new National Education Service that has the narrative and vision to achieve this, alongside our promises on HE and FE fee abolition.
Theresa May has openly admitted students face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” and by doing so highlights what nearly eight years of a Tory-led Government has left us with: an unprecedented HE student debt levels among the UK’s competitors and a mess in lifelong learning. Theresa May has forfeited the right to address those challenges.
Gordon has written the following article for Huffington Post in response to the Prime Minister's announcement of a review into Higher Education. You can read it in full below. By...
Hospital charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund has welcomed a visit by Gordon.
He visited the charity office in Blackpool Victoria Hospital to speak to Head of Fundraising Kila Redfearn about the work it does to support patients of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Gordon offered his ideas to broaden the awareness and support that Blue Skies receives in and around Blackpool.
Kila said: “We are delighted Gordon was able to take the time to come and visit us, and to hear about the work we do to enhance the care patients receive under NHS care in Blackpool.
"He was very interested to hear about the history of our charity, the work we have been doing and our focus for the year. He was able to offer some very valuable guidance using his contacts for the area which we are keen to follow up on straight away.
"We very much look forward to welcoming him into our offices again."
Gordon also met other members of the team during his visit last week.
He said: "It was good to have the opportunity to be briefed by Kila and her colleagues on the work and initiatives that Blue Skies is doing across the Hospital Trust - not just at the Vic - to enhance patient support and for the families that support them, and not least in the current challenging day to day circumstances which the NHS is experiencing.
"It is always important to recognise and value all the traditional support that volunteers give day in and day out across the NHS in Blackpool but the new ideas events Blue Skies can bring is a proactive element as well, and I look forward to seeing its progress."
Hospital charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund has welcomed a visit by Gordon. He visited the charity office in Blackpool Victoria Hospital to speak to Head of Fundraising Kila Redfearn about the...
Gordon has met with constituent Molly Powell, a 20-year-old student at Liverpool University, who is raising funds for the continuation of the International Citizen Service (ICS).
The ICS provide voluntary placements for students such as Molly to overseas countries, who in the summer will travel out to Bangladesh for ten weeks to help girls in education.
Gordon met with Molly at his constituency office to discuss how she became involved in the initiative and why she is fundraising for the ICS and the different fundraising events she is pursing. She is currently volunteering with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), which supports the ICS with their efforts to tackle poverty overseas.
After meeting Molly, Gordon commented: “I was very pleased to meet Molly and hear about her exciting plans to go to volunteer in Bangladesh over the summer - she is a credit to her family and the local community with her work. As someone who is passionate about education, I know how crucial it is to improving people’s life chances and opportunities, wherever they are in the world.”
The History and Politics student has decided to volunteer with the VSO in Bangladesh to help young Bangladeshi’s to become more involved in local governance, education whilst also raising awareness of their sexual and reproductive health rights.
As part of her voluntary placement Molly needs to raise money for the continuation of the ICS program (90% is funded through the Department for International Development, with the remaining 10% of the funding being raised by their volunteers).
She has decided to raise her funds through cake sales and an exhilarating skydive. She has also set up a Just-Giving page so that members of the public can donate – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/molly-powell1
Gordon has met with constituent Molly Powell, a 20-year-old student at Liverpool University, who is raising funds for the continuation of the International Citizen Service (ICS). The ICS provide voluntary...