Karin Smyth MPs South Bristol Voice Column :: September 2022

The end of August is always an important time in young people’s lives. It marks the point when, after years of hard work, they receive their GSCE, BTEC and A-Level results. Our young people, teachers and parents should be immensely proud of the results they have achieved. To strive to be your best whilst facing the adversity of a global pandemic truly shows strength of character.

We cannot thank our teachers and educational support teams enough this year. You have had to reinvent your profession, with little to no help from the Government. Going forward I truly believe the Government must redouble their efforts to listen to teaching professionals so that we can secure schools that work for everyone and support teachers to deliver the best education that they can in educational settings that nurture and encourage our students.

After receiving their results, students have a wide variety of choices for what they do next. Some will choose to enter the world of work, others apprenticeships, and others will continue with further or higher education. Bristol has led the way on providing young people with many different options. I’m delighted that the Advanced Construction Skills Centre will be joining this excellent mix at Hengrove Park.

The new centre has been something I have been closely involved in as I supported the college, Bristol City Council and West England Combined Authority in securing national government support. I’m delighted to see our work locally in making the case in getting it built come to fruition. This is key to getting skills locally for our long-term recovery from Covid-19.

Unlike many other education settings, the Advanced Construction Skills Centre will enable students to learn trades like bricklaying, carpentry and more general construction. This is on top of skills such as project management and quantity surveying. With pent up demand for those with construction skills, I cannot think of a better trade to gain.

Having a country-leading site such as this is vital to the prosperity of our city. But we need more employers to come forward to take on apprentices, so that young people get the hands-on experience alongside the structured learning at the Advanced Construction Skills Centre. I’m calling on those thinking of hiring apprentices to get in touch as I’d be delighted to support both our local businesses and educational centres of excellence. In many cases all of the training costs will be met by government schemes, and extra support is available for employers who recruit 16–18-year-old apprentices. Moreover, if a new apprentice starts before 30 September 2021 there’s an incentive payment of £3,000 for the business. To get all the details contact City of Bristol College on 0117 312 5250.

When I visited the Advanced Construction Skills Centre I was blown away by the state-of-the-art facilities being prepared for students. This will become an anchor institution within our community we can all be proud of. I look forward to visiting again and hearing from students and apprentices there.