The closure of M&S in Stockport shows the effect that on line shopping is having on retail jobs. There will be different kinds of jobs in the future and different kind of skills will be needed. I am very keen to ensure that young people in Stockport get the further education and training they need to take advantages of the opportunities available in the future. I am also concerned that older people have the opportunity to learn new skills
There is a huge economic and social cost to our communities if young people cannot find employment because they don’t have the skills they need to progress and get a job. Some of these young people may have struggled at their local high school and are looking for an alternative to sixth form study which will still lead to good qualifications, work experience and a good job.
This is where our local Further Education College – Stockport College – plays a vital role. The College has courses for school leavers, it offers apprenticeships, adult education and also degree courses. I’ve been visiting Stockport College for many years, meeting students and talking to staff. I’ve been impressed by the students’ many achievements and success stories – for example in performing arts, health and social care, fashion, building and construction, engineering, business, motor mechanics and much more.
Stockport College is now entering a new chapter in its history as it merges with Trafford College to create a much larger body with ambitions to be the best college in Greater Manchester. I have supported the merger because it will bring much-needed investment in Stockport College and an improvement in the quality of the education on offer. I hope it will also mean stronger relationships between the College, employers and the local Council. A good local college can encourage more businesses to come to Stockport and create more jobs which will be good for the town’s economy.
I am meeting the new Principal, Lesley Davies, early next month and look forward to hearing more about her plans for the college – which will still be called Stockport College. I am confident that employability and high standards will be at the top of her list for the students in her care.
Back in March I wrote to Minister for Children and Families about young carers in Stockport and the wonderful work that is being done in Stockport by Signpost Young Carers.
Signpost works alongside local schools to provide support for young carers to experience the same opportunities as their peers.
I was interested to hear what plans the government have to ensure that when a young carer moves they do not lose the crucial support they receive from their local authority. Furthermore, I asked whether the Government might consider plans to include provisions for young carers as part of the assessment criteria for Oftsed inspections.
My initial letter to the Department for Education can be found here.
The response from Nadhim Zahawi can be found here
Ann Coffey MP has urged the Government to step in and investigate cuts to train services at Heaton Chapel station, which could lead to dangerous overcrowding on platforms.
The MP for Stockport has written to Jo Johnson, the rail minister, expressing concern about this “totally unacceptable situation.”
Ms Coffey detailed the cuts in the numbers of trains and chaotic timetabling resulting in big gaps at peak periods and the fear of crowd control problems.
Northern rail bosses are devising plans to deal with potential crowds at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme stations when services at both stations are temporarily cut from four to three trains an hour from May 20 due to delays in the electrification of the Manchester to Preston line.
Heaton Chapel, in Ms Coffey’s constituency, is one of the busiest stations within Greater Manchester with over 800,000 passengers per year.
Ms Coffey said there were major concerns about the chaotic timings of services, including all three trains during the morning rush hour arriving at the station within a 15 minute window and then a large 49 minute gap between the 8.35 and 9.24 peak morning services.
Ms Coffey said: “These changes are unacceptable and will lead to massive overcrowding and more commuter hell for people trying to get to work on time.”
In her letter to Mr Johnson she said: “I would ask you to look into this as a matter of urgency.
“I hope you will agree that this is a totally unacceptable situation for my constituents and I look forward to receiving an update on what positive action can be taken to address these concerns.”
“My constituents have already been waiting a significant amount of time for promised improvements and had looked forward to the new services and increased capacity that they expected to be implemented”
She said it was ‘extremely frustrating’ that Network Rail did not notify Northern until January this year that the electrification project was again running over time and would not now be completed by May.
“I would be grateful if you could advise me what action the Government can take to ensure that further delays in this project are kept to a minimum and that communication will be improved to ensure that train operators are able to plan effectively.”
A copy of Ann’s letter is available here for those interested.