Bristol South

Government releases report into trailer safety as result of campaign by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth and family of Freddie Hussey


The government has released an important report into trailer safety in the UK in response an ongoing campaign by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth and the parents of 3-year-old Freddie Hussey who died when he was hit by a runaway trailer in Bedminster in 2014.

Working closely with Donna and Scott Hussey, Karin has been pushing for action in Parliament to address the problem of ill-fitted and faulty trailers as well as raising awareness among motorists.  In April, Karin launched the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Trailer and Towing Safety, which will consider the report in its next meeting in September.

Both the Hussey family and Karin have welcomed the report as a key step forward in the campaign and the report’s author Michael Ellis MP, Minister of State for the Department of Transport, in turn thanked the Hussey family and Karin for their role in improving trailer safety.

“No family should have to go through what Freddie’s family has,” said Karin, “We’ve seen some significant progress this year with the launch of the new trailer and towing safety parliamentary group and I’m really pleased that the government now recognises the importance of improving trailer safety. This report marks another crucial step in protecting families in Bristol South and across the country from further harm by defective trailers.”

Until now, there was a lack of data to show the full extent of the problem but following Karin’s intervention to secure an amendment to the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018, the government pledged to gather this information. The report released today is the result of this.

Data gathered from 2017 showed that there were 20 collisions involving trailers which resulted in injury or death and which were a result of a vehicle defect; something which would’ve been identifiable if present at testing. It is recognised that this figure may be higher as it is based on current reporting methods, which may not capture every relevant incident.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out hundreds of spot checks over a six month period to help inform the report – analysis of this revealed that half of the light trailers (between 750 and 3,500 kgs) stopped did not comply with basic safety standards.

Karin said: “As soon as we started looking into trailer safety, it became clear that the Hussey’s weren’t the only family to have lost a loved one due to faulty trailers. The latest figures have confirmed what we suspected. The report estimates 1.4 million trailers are in use in the UK – if half of these are defective, that poses a huge risk to road users. We need action to address this before another family has to suffer.”

“It is clear, including from roadside checks by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) undertaken for this report, that many light trailers are used on public roads in a defective state,” said Mr Ellis. “A focus must be maintained on driving up the safety of these trailers.”

The report went on to look at the existing laws and guidelines around trailers and considers whether these are sufficient in light of a number of tragic incidents involving trailers, including the death of young Freddie.

The report explores ways to improve these standards – considering registration and testing requirements, but deems this not to be a cost-effective way of reducing the number of trailer related incidents, most of which it puts down to driver error.

It instead suggests that awareness raising and more spot checks could help – commending the #TowSafe4Freddie campaign launched in Freddie’s memory as a great example of this. The DVSA will continue to undertake checks, including more caravans over the summer months, to check compliance.

Karin said: “I very much welcome this report which outlines some of the main issues and offers us a valuable first step in gathering relevant data to gain insight into the extent of the problem of defective trailers. I thank the Minister for giving this the attention it deserves and his team for creating a comprehensive first look at the issue. However, it is clear that more data is needed. The report noted that more caravans use the roads in the summer months than in the winter when the DVSA carried out these checks.”

Donna and Scott Hussey said: “We were initially disappointed that, despite 50 per cent of light trailers being found to be defective, the government had no plans for registration or testing. The report clearly shows there is a problem with unsafe trailers and proved the need for safety checks. We are pleased that the government has collected the data and delighted that further checks will now take place to gather a truer figure, which we believe may be even higher. We don’t think the government should rule out registration and testing.

“When this first happened, and as the police investigation grew and after the court case, we had so many questions such as why was a trailer with a faulty hitch allowed to go out on the road in the first place. We couldn’t understand how, in a health and safety conscious country, there was no requirement on what was classed as a small trailer to be checked. We can only hope that, after collecting further data, change will come and this can be prevented from happening again, as sadly we know it has happened before and since.

“It’s heart-breaking that this could have been prevented and we would still have our beautiful son. He would be coming up his 9th birthday and we can’t imagine how different life would be. We have missed out on so much and seeing our son grow up over something that could have been prevented. The only positive is that we can prevent this happening to another family and save lives in Freddie’s name and memory. There is still a lot of work that can be done.”

Karin added: “I’m pleased that the report includes consideration of compulsory registration and testing and recognises that this is required in several other European countries, including Italy. I don’t think we should be ruling this out. I know that the Hussey family is keen to explore this further and it’s something we will discuss again at the next trailer and towing APPG in the autumn.”

Mr Ellis concluded the report, saying: “This report is an important milestone with data underpinning it and is not itself an endpoint in the consideration of how to improve public safety effectively in relation to light trailers. I look forward to working together with those involved in trailer safety to ensure that momentum is maintained in this area, and that trailer safety continues to improve.”

You can read the full report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trailer-safety-report

Bedminster pharmacist wins national NHS award after being nominated by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has welcomed national recognition for a local Ade Williams at Bedminster Pharmacy in the prestigious NHS Parliamentary Awards.

MPs in England were asked to nominate individuals and teams serving their constituents across ten categories. Regional champions were selected in June, with the national winners chosen by a panel of senior leaders representing staff and patients.

Ade scooped the national prize in the Primary Care category at the NHS Parliamentary Awards, held in Parliament on Wednesday 10 July, after being put forward by Karin earlier in the year.

He was nominated for, among other things, supporting a number of pioneering schemes to support the health of people in the local area including the annual men’s health campaign known as the ‘Bemmy challenge’ with pubs, barbers and tattoo parlours and ‘pulse in the pub’ blood pressure checks.

Karin said: “I was pleased to be able to nominate Ade and I am delighted that he has won the Excellence in Primary Care Award. Ade is a great example of a pharmacist who really cares about his community. He keeps in touch with GPs to improve services and is always publicising important health campaigns. Ade is very well known in the local community for giving top quality care and advice. He even finds time to contribute to academic research and to write for both health professionals and the public. He provides a valued service to many of my constituents, so I know that everyone in Bristol South will join me in welcoming this richly-deserved national accolade.”

She added: “The success of the National Health Service is built on its wonderful staff, so it is right that MPs champion the outstanding work happening in their local area.”

The NHS Parliamentary Awards, supported by FUJI FILM, were launched to recognise the massive contribution made by the individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

Ade was one of twelve winners – selected from more than 600 nominations submitted by over 230 MPs – to receive their awards at a ceremony on the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion, hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP & TV Doctor. Health Select Committee Chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, and the panel of judges collectively representing millions of NHS staff and patients were also on hand to pay tribute to the winners and all those shortlisted.

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth raises concerns in Parliament that vital NHS services could be lost due to secretive tendering process

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth took the campaign for more transparency in the NHS to parliament when she led a Westminster Hall debate on the future of local community health services.

She was joined in Parliament on Wednesday 26 Jun by Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage and other MPs to discuss Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (BNSSG CCG) procurement and what it will mean for community health services in Bristol South.

“As it stands, we do not know who is bidding and what they are offering,” said Karin, “And crucially, because there was no baseline or business case for change presented, we cannot be sure that service provision will remain in place, let alone improve. That is what I’m really concerned about and it’s why I’ll continue pushing for more transparency during this ill-advised process.”

She added: “People across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire simply want to know what is happening to their local health services. This competitive and secretive process goes against the NHS plan and experts’ desire for more collaborative ways of working.”

Karin, who worked as an NHS manager for many years before she was elected to parliament, first raised concerns late last year (2018) when BNSSG CCG put a £1 billion, 10-year contract for adult community health out to tender. She has spoken with the Chief Executive of the CCG, NHS England and NHS Improvement seeking assurances that vital NHS services in Bristol South – including those at South Bristol Community Hospital – won’t be lost.

She said: “This debate is the latest important step in ensuring that my constituents aren’t left worse off in terms of the community health services they rely on. I’ve spoken with NHS staff – managers, consultants and nurses – as well as other service providers and residents; like me, they are worried that this change could lead to poorer provision.

“Our health services are public services. They are paid for by the taxpayer – our constituents. If we keep asking people to pay more for our health services, people need to have a much greater say in how those services are run; particularly when they are being changed.

“With the CCG seemingly intent on carrying out this process behind closed doors, we cannot know whether we’re getting value for money when we don’t even know what we’ve got at the moment and what is being proposed. How much is this process costing us? People in Bristol South deserve to know that what they’re getting is as good as, if not better than, what they have now.”

Following the parliamentary debate, Karin has written to the minister asking for her support in getting sight of the proposals before any contracts are signed. Ms Dinenage thanked Karin for raising the important issue and said the government would continue to monitor this process closely.

Karin added: “I’m pleased that the minister has recognised my concerns as valid but there’s still some work to do to ensure my constituents can access the healthcare they need.”

Karin Smyth MP helps inform UN Special Rapporteur into extreme poverty and human rights in the UK

You may have seen earlier this year that I wrote a letter to help inform the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in the UK. The full report, compiled by Professor Philip Alston, was released this week and it makes for some very difficult but important reading. (You can read the full report here).

I was the only individual MP to make a submission to the report, with Prof. Alston speaking to a broad range of frontline organisations and experts, as well as individuals living in or affected by poverty.

As MP for Bristol South, I’ve seen first-hand just how damaging government cuts and ill-advised decisions are for people living in poverty.

Like the country, Bristol is divided. There are areas of great wealth in some parts of the city, and there are areas where people are struggling to get by with stagnant wages and rising living costs.

As I wrote in my letter to Prof. Alston, Bristol South has the highest number of social security claimants in the city, the poorest health outcomes – including lower life expectancy – and the lowest educational attainment. The southern part of the constituency has poor transport links and higher crime rates. All of this has a direct and unmistakable link with poverty.

My role as MP is to be a strong voice for Bristol South and I felt I should share the impact government cuts were having on my constituents as part of this report.

The comprehensive report goes as far as to suggest that the government is in violation of its human rights obligations due to its ideological and systematic dismantling of the social safety net.

“Given the significant resources available in the country, the sustained and widespread cuts to social support, which have caused so much pain and misery, amount to retrogressive measures in clear violation of the United Kingdom’s human rights obligations,” writes Prof. Alston. “It is hard to imagine a recipe better designed to exacerbate inequality and poverty and to undermine the life prospects of many millions.”

The government has tried to dismiss this report as ‘barely believable’. This response shows just how out of touch they are. The report, while certainly very damning for the government, paints an accurate picture of what a lot of my constituents are dealing with.

It looks at the impact of government cuts and changes to benefits on particular groups, including women, single parents and disabled people. It’s clear, as it has been to me since Universal Credit was first rolled out in Bristol South, that these groups – which already face ongoing challenges – are being hit particularly hard.

The report reads: “Given the structural disadvantages faced by women, it is particularly disturbing that so many policy changes since 2010 have taken a greater toll on them.”

It goes on to say that benefits changes have had a ‘stark impact’ on single parents, who are twice as likely to experience persistent poverty, with half of all children living in single parent families living in poverty. One in four children now live in poverty in Bristol and figures suggest that is set to rise significantly over the next few years, with Brexit making things worse for the most vulnerable people.

Prof. Alston recognised that the tired old ‘record levels of employment’ response from the government is particularly unhelpful. Besides, poverty is not confined to unemployed families. I’ve spoken before about underemployment – where people are working but are still struggling to afford the basics. The report suggests that families where two adults earn the minimum wage are still falling 11% short of the adequate income needed to raise a child.

The report flags another worrying statistic: “Nearly half of those in poverty – 6.9 million people – are from families in which someone has a disability – they have also been some of the hardest hit by austerity measures.”

Crucially, this report doesn’t just outline the current situation – but it has some clear recommendations for the government to take steps to address this. Some of these echo things I’ve been pressing the government to do, such as delaying the rollout of Universal Credit and restoring funding to local government.

Prof. Alston concludes: “The situation demands a new vision that embodies British compassion and places social rights and economic security front and centre.” I couldn’t agree more.

New trailer safety group launches in Parliament thanks to campaign by Bristol South MP and local family

Karin Smyth MP at the 2018 trailer summit in Bristol – part of an ongoing campaign

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth is pleased to be chairing the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Trailer and Towing Safety in Westminster on Tuesday 30 April 2019. 

The creation of this cross-party group is a significant step forward in the campaign to improve trailer safety. As part of the meeting, The National Towing Working Group, chaired by Highways England, will be launching their first ever Safety Framework, with the aim of reducing towing-related incidents, both business and leisure related, across the GB road network. 

It follows two Trailer Safety Summits, which Karin hosted in her Bristol South constituency in 2017 and 2018, an amendment to the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act requiring the government to collect data on trailer related incidents and ongoing talks with the government’s Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman MP over further potential changes to legislation. 

Karin first spoke about the issue in Parliament in 2016 after meeting with constituents Donna and Scott Hussey – who lost their 3-year-old son Freddie when he was hit by a trailer that had come loose from a vehicle in Bedminster in 2014.  

Thanks to Karin’s work with the Hussey family, the DVSA went on to release new guidelines for towing safety and launched the #TowSafe4Freddie campaign to help raise awareness among drivers. Karin has since teamed up with the National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA) to promote free roadside safety checks for trailers, but believes more is needed to protect road users and pedestrians – which is why she has launched the new APPG. 

The APPG brings together MPs from the main political parties, industry representatives and consumer groups to explore the issue of trailer and towing safety. The group, for which the National Caravan Council (NCC) is the secretariat, will discuss a programme of work for the future and will, this summer, discuss the Department for Transport’s Trailer Safety Report, which will be published in July as a result of Karin’s intervention last year (2018). 

Karin said: “Working with the Hussey family, I’ve been able to bring this important issue to Westminster. We’ve come a long way since I first spoke about the issue in Parliament and, with the launch of the APPG, I’m pleased to see the concerns we have getting the attention they need. It paves the way for the changes needed in the area of towing safety over the coming months and years.  

“These incidents are far too common and what has become clear during this ongoing campaign is that drivers are often unaware just how dangerous towing without the correct safety measures can be. That needs to change and thanks to our ongoing campaign and work with the likes of the NCC and NTTA, it will. I don’t want to see other families suffer in the way that young Freddie’s family has.”  

Freddie’s mum Donna said: “While it has always been difficult for us to comprehend what happened to Freddie, we made a promise to each other and to Freddie that we would do all we could to make sure this issue is given the serious consideration it deserves.  

“I did not realise it was an issue before it happened, but afterwards I started to look into it and saw that there were 2-3 incidents a week. We realised then that it was a real problem. In our case, if that trailer had been serviced they would’ve known that the hitch was not secured correctly. Had the driver realised there was a problem, he might not have gone out that day. People need to know that going out without the correct safety checks, you’re taking a big risk. 

“We are really pleased that Karin has supported us and, thanks to her efforts, all parties are now working together to make the necessary changes happen and hopefully prevent similar tragedies. We couldn’t have done it without her. If our hard work saves one life, then it is worth it. No family should go through what we have been through. We are determined to see this through in memory of Freddie.”  

“We are really pleased that Karin has supported us and, thanks to her efforts, all parties are now working together to make the necessary changes happen and hopefully prevent similar tragedies. We couldn’t have done it without her. If our hard work saves one life, then it is worth it. No family should go through what we have been through. We are determined to see this through in memory of Freddie.” 

Alicia Dunne of the NCC said they were pleased to be taking a key role in this new APPG, adding: “The NCC has consistently been an advocate of trailer safety education and awareness, and we look forward to helping Karin and the group develop practical, proportionate and effective measures aimed at improving trailer and towing safety for all UK road users.” 

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth opposes plans for new Whitchurch link road

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth was last week asked to support the regional Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) Bid, which is seeking £250 million of Government funding for infrastructure improvements to sustain the building of more homes in the region. “There are some great transport initiatives in there to boost the number of passengers using Bristol Temple Meads railway station and improved pedestrian and cycle routes, which I fully support,” said Karin. “But the proposals also include a new road from the A37 to Whitchurch Lane, which I and local residents oppose. “

Karin requested clarification around possible alternatives to this road, plans to reduce car use in the city – not plan for more, but received no further details of these ahead of submission of the final bid this week.  She says: “The draft application suggests this new road could see 20,000 vehicles a day on Whitchurch Lane – driving past homes and a primary school. Thousands of local people have told me they are worried about pollution, road safety and the impact on wildlife and I share these concerns.”

Almost 1,000 letters of opposition to the new road proposal were delivered to The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) just last week, as the consultation for the Joint Local Transport Plan closed. Karin said: “It is premature to include such a widely-opposed new road in this bid without taking stock of these views and the wider picture.

“There are growing concerns over air quality in Bristol, with 300 deaths a year linked to emissions. Air pollution has been shown to contribute to a range of health problems, including impaired lung development in babies and young children, asthma and lung cancer with newer research indicating a link to diabetes, heart disease and dementia. We know that the main cause of air pollution in Bristol is traffic. Bristol South already suffers from some of the highest levels of ill-health in the city and this new road, and the thousands of polluting vehicles coming into the area, would exacerbate that. Health and housing are both very important and one should not come at the expense of the other.”

Both Bristol City Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council recently declared a Climate Emergency, with the Labour Party urging the government to recognise a national Climate Emergency in Parliament this week. Both councils are looking at introducing Clean Air Zones in the city centres to address poor air quality. Bristol City Council is this week writing to the government about its overdue Air Quality Plan, the full detail of which is yet to be made public. “Pressing ahead with this ill-conceived road plan and inviting 20,000 cars into Bristol South goes against the city’s obligation to improve air quality,” said Karin. “For these reasons, I will not support plans for this road and cannot support this bid in its current guise.”

Karin has spoken to the Minister responsible for Housing and Planning and plans to meet with him next week to discuss this further. She added: “I will continue to press for the homes and infrastructure we need here in Bristol South. This new road is not the answer.”

Record number of jobseekers attend South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair 2019

Hundreds of jobseekers met with employers and training providers at the South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair 2019, which has been dubbed the ‘best one yet’. 

The fair, which took place at the City of Bristol College’s South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove, was organised by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth in partnership with the college, Bristol City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Appealing not only to school leavers, but also adults looking to upskill or re-enter the workplace, the event gave people the chance to meet some of the city’s biggest employers, including Computershare, Babcock International and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, and even apply for jobs and apprenticeships on the day. 

Many businesses were represented by young apprentices themselves, including Jeff Way Group, Bristol Port Company and Burges Salmon, where 19-year-old Gareth Parfitt talked to would be apprentices about his legal apprenticeship. 

He said: “For me, university was a really expensive option, and I’d had enough of reading from a textbook day-in, day-out; I wanted something that was a lot more practical so I decided that an apprenticeship would work better for me. The practical side of it, coupled with the studies works really well – I go to university on a Monday and on a Tuesday, what I’ve learnt, I put straight into practice. If I pass all my exams, I should come out as a qualified solicitor without going into any debt at university and earning while I go.” 

Organiser Karin Smyth, who has been MP for Bristol South since 2015, said: ”I started doing this because I was aware that, while a lot of things happen to support young people in apprenticeships and jobs around Bristol, most are located in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire. That’s important, but there wasn’t enough of a focus here in South Bristol. We know that we don’t send as many youngsters as we should do into higher education, we know that youngsters aren’t getting onto the apprenticeships that we know are there and we know there are good jobs to be had.  

“We saw a lot of youngsters on their own and a lot coming in with their parents trying to make sense of the different opportunities that are around. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to start doing this because I think it’s a really confusing set of choices now for young people. You’ve got to put a lot of things together and we wanted to try and locate that in Bristol South and make sure that information is all available in one place.“ 

City of Bristol’s Principal Lee Probert said: “One of the most common themes is the extent to which people need really good quality advice to make the choice about what sort of apprenticeship that they undertake. We can make sure that, having had the excitement of being attracted to the health sector or engineering or whatever, we can then get them alongside someone who can find the right course and the package of support they need – including access to funding –and make it happen.  

“We’ve had the largest number of employers ever for this event – around 100 – and we’ve seen in excess of a thousand people come through the doors this year. Employers have been capturing a list of individuals who are likely to be suitable to go into their work force. It doesn’t have the same pressure around having to prepare for a job interview, you can have a speculative interest in more than one sector, you can find out about a sector that you may not know about. Events such as this are critical in taking those barriers away.” 

Bristol City Counci’s Employment Account Officer Chris Mitchell echoed this, saying: “These events are really good because they’re an informal way of deciding if you want to work for a particular employer and having done that, you can then work your way through their particular application process and then you find that you’ve already broken the ice with them.” 

This is the third event of its kind in as many years and coincides with National Apprenticeship Week 2019. It is part of Karin Smyth’s ongoing focus on apprenticeships as a route to a quality career for people in Bristol South. 

Joanna Dunlop, Apprenticeship Co-ordinator at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, had a stand at the event with members of various teams within the Trust. They took along their current job vacancy list and had an interview room where they conducted interviews with potential employees. She said: “I’ve done all 3 and this one has been the best yet. Really good breakdown of both college students pupils and a lot more walk in visitors – adults looking for jobs. Events such as these are a very important part of our recruitment and this is the only one which has this catchment in South Bristol, long may it last because it’s been brilliant.” 

Mr Probert added: “This is a really important partnership event, it’s not the college’s or an employer’s, it’s spearheaded by Karin Smyth, who’s the MP for Bristol South, working with the city council, with the DWP and Job Centre Plus and without that sense of collaboration, we can’t penetrate communities in the way that we have today.” 

Bristol apprentices speak about their journeys ahead of South Bristol Apprenticeships Fair

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has organised another apprenticeships fair. In partnership with City of Bristol College, Bristol City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, the South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair 2019 will take place from 11am – 3pm on Thursday 28 February at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove.

The event is free to attend and you’ll be able to find out more about the apprenticeships on offer in Bristol and beyond, support and training available and be able to chat to apprentices themselves. Here, we speak with Bristol apprentices about their apprenticeship stories…


‘A boy from Bristol with a dream’ 

Carl Bembridge, 25, from Speedwell, Bristol, celebrity hair stylist and wig-maker 

After leaving school, Carl started a hair styling apprenticeship at City of Bristol College – working in Cohesion salon in St George with a day a week at college. He now divides his time between the Bristol salon and celebrity events and shoots across the world, including Love Island stars. 

Carl, who describes himself as ‘a boy from Bristol with a dream’, says: “I always knew I wanted to work with hair. I loved hair from a young age, especially long hair. I didn’t know how to get there but after doing work experience at Cohesion I learned about apprenticeships and then I found out more at college events (like the apprenticeships fair). 

“I chose the apprenticeship because there was more practical and actual salon time, so I learnt a lot more about the environment. I looked forward to college and seeing my friends once a week – it wasn’t too much and it was never going to get boring; and I was earning money, which was new to me and a change from school. 

“Secondary school was hard. I was picked on for wanting to do hair. When I chose Cohesion for my work experience other boy students found out and called me names, but I’m so glad I carried on. Since I finished my apprenticeship, I went on to win numerous competitions – including Hairdresser of the Year 2015. I now work with celebrities, travelling all over the world to style hair for photoshoots for magazines like Hello and events such as London Fashion Week.  

“Becoming a celebrity hairstylist known for my hair skills is amazing. I’ve got to work with TV stars from Keeping Up With The Kardashians and was taught how to make my famous wigs by Kylie Jenner’s wigmaker Tokyo Stylez. I’m going to keep setting myself goals to become more well-known and to become my own brand. There are no limits. 

“I was always driven and knew what I wanted to do but I’m really glad I did the apprenticeship because it was one day at college and the rest of the week was working life, like real-life working earning money and building my clients. In my industry, apprenticeships are great for building yourself as the stylist you want to be. I’d definitely recommend apprenticeships.” 


‘Apprenticeships – not just for school leavers’ 

Jacob Kulig, 32, from Henleazean apprentice with a Bristol global logistics and freight company 

When university graduate Jacob was looking for a meaningful career, he turned his attention to apprenticeships. 

The 32-year-old joined Expeditors International shipping and logistics company in Avonmouth as an Apprentice Air Export Agent in 2015. 

 His Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Level 2 apprenticeship has seen him progress from working on operations into finance and accounting, covering areas such as billing, invoicing, quoting and pricing. This is the direction he hopes to follow in his newly-forged career. 

“Returning to college gives me good boost of confidence,” explains Jacob, who graduated from Jagiellonian University in his home country of Poland in 2011. “That constant development is necessary for everyone. There are so many skills that may become helpful in a future career, and in life generally.  

“I am a university graduate, but some university programs are very generic or too abstract to provide a good start; whereas attending a professional course can equip you with the exact knowledge and skills which are essential for undertaking a specific job. 

“Combining work and studying is already a part of success. I am glad that I am passing exams and developing knowledge that matches with the matters dealt with at my workplace. 

“An apprenticeship will help you move from a standstill position. Even if you are already in a profession, an apprenticeship will set up you new insights and a different perspective and you will see that it was definitely worth it.”


‘No deal’ Brexit is not an option, says Bristol South MP Karin Smyth

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth says:

“Brexit remains a cause of much frustration, uncertainty and concern. 

“This is being felt here in Bristol South and throughout the UK. 

“I was in Dublin earlier this week, in my role as Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland alongside colleagues Keir Starmer and Tony Lloyd. We met with government and opposition, business leaders and trade unions who are, understandably, anxious about a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“The UK government remains in chaos. The important vote on 14 February, once again showed that the Prime Minister does not have the full support of her own party, let alone Parliament. Parliament does not support the Government’s approach to Brexit negotiations – their deal, or no deal.

“With just weeks to go until we’re due to leave the EU, Parliament will continue to do its job in holding the government to account, clarifying and working through options on our future relationship with the EU.

“‘No deal’ Brexit is not an option.”

Invitation: South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair 2019

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has teamed up with City of Bristol College, Bristol City Council and the Department of Work and Pensions for another Jobs and Apprenticeships fair.

The event, which takes place from 11am-3pm on Thursday 28 February at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove, will feature some of Bristol’s biggest employers looking to recruit apprentices and new staff – including some key south Bristol employers such as Babcock International and Robbins Timber.

“Post-16 options can be confusing and I wanted to help students and their parents to navigate this,” said Karin Smyth, who organised similar events in both 2018 and 2017. “Quality apprenticeships have such an important role to play in helping young people have decent careers without getting tens of thousands of pounds into debt in the process.

“Many of the stalls at the fair are run by apprentices themselves, so it’s a great opportunity to hear what it’s like from the people who know.”

Speaking at last year’s apprenticeships fair, Hargreaves Lansdown cyber security apprentice Amanda Rogers said: “I applied for apprenticeships in IT via the government website and was lucky enough to get this one. It’s really good, you learn and get a wage which is really beneficial. I’ll get a degree and there will be no debt. Hargreaves Lansdown are really supportive – if you need time off to do the work, they’ll allow you that. There are also so many opportunities for progression.”

Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College, said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent way to earn a wage whilst gaining the skills and experience needed for many careers. They are available at various levels including degree, offering first-hand experience and an alternative route to learning.”

The fair takes place ahead of National Apprenticeships Week (4-8 March 2019). The annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships celebrates the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

Alongside Karin Smyth and City of Bristol College, this year’s apprenticeships fair is being organised with Bristol City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Probert said: “We are pleased to be working in collaboration with Karin Smyth MP, Bristol City Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and other city partners to host this event and help our local communities to connect with a large number of employers with job vacancies, as well as to access many skills development routes available through college training and qualifications.”

The fair announcement comes as the latest UCAS figures show a further drop in the percentage of school leavers in Bristol South – from 16.2 percent in 2017 to 15.9 percent in 2018, compared to 31.4 percent nationally. In all other areas of Bristol the figure is significantly higher.

Karin said: “I’m working with schools and colleges to ensure that more young people in Bristol South have the opportunity to go to university; but I recognise that university isn’t the only route to a decent career which is why I’ll continue to focus on quality apprenticeships.”

Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Bristol City Council, added: “Apprenticeships are for anyone, not just for those at the start of their careers, and can be an excellent way to develop the skills and qualifications that businesses are looking for. We have some fantastic employers in the region offering high quality apprenticeships and they are encouraged to pay apprentices in line with their skills and experience, helping to make the city a fairer place to live and work.”