I have heard many people say that the Lib Dems have achieved nothing since they joined the Coalition. It may feel like that sometimes but this could not be further from the truth.
As the junior partner in the Coalition we have punched well above our weight. We have achieved 75% of our Manifesto Pledges from 2010, a far higher proportion than the Conservatives. We have prevented some of the more right wing and nasty policies that we would have seen if the Conservatives governed with a majority.
Take Jobs. With Vince Cable and Danny Alexander taking the lead we have created 1 million private sector jobs and the Lib Dems are now moving forward with their Jobs Campaign. The first element to this is the aim to double the number of companies offering Apprenticeships, not just at the lowest NVQ 2 or 3 level but also Apprenticeships that convert to degree level qualifications.
Money is now available to assist companies with the early costs of taking on an inexperienced worker; this allows them to be paid through a grant while their productivity is limited and when more senior team members are having to dedicate time to their training.
It’s an MP’s responsibility to support the local economy, helping business to develop, and supporting skills training .
In the last 5 years a social enterprise of which I have been a co-director has opened 3 new skills centres in my council ward; providing training for young people in green skills and in composite engineering. This has brought millions of pounds of investment into the town.
Having spent 18 years as a lecturer in Further Education, Apprenticeships and appropriate skills training, to keep our young people in West Dorset and help the local economy develop, are central issues for me. I work regularly with Yeovil, Weymouth and Kingston Maurward Colleges as part of Skills Training Bridport as well as a range of West Dorset employers – and look forward to engaging with schools and businesses across the constituency to support the skills agenda.