“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.
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.”
Bristol South MP Karin Smyth will today (January 7th) use a House of Commons debate to call on the Secretary of State for Health to pause the potentially disastrous NHS commissioning plans for Bristol.
Karin Smyth MP said:
“The Government has today launched its 10 Year NHS Long Term Plan, committed to integrating care locally and seeking to change the disastrous NHS Reforms freeing Commissioners from the procurement rules introduced in 2012. However, tomorrow we have the local Bristol and North Somerset, South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) embarking on its own 10 year plan to tender community services.
“Before the Christmas break I wrote to the CCG asking them to hold off on a service tender ahead of the NHS Plan – and today, I am calling on the Health Secretary Matthew Hancock to intervene and pause the process.
“I am concerned to see the CCG pursuing a complex legal procurement process for just some of our community services, without a clear understanding of what is required and without any attempt at cooperation with other partners who also provide vital services.
“This approach creates potential conflict where there should be collaboration between service providers, which is not in keeping with the national direction. What is proposed is a complex set of negotiations with providers outside of the NHS, held entirely in secret. This is not how the NHS should be managed.
“Only by working together to create a joined-up approach to services can we — NHS England, the CCG, NHS staff, local authorities and the public — succeed in delivering quality health and social care for people. The NHS Plan actually offers an opportunity to create new NHS Trusts which could be used to bring together community services if that is the objective.
“We have a brilliant asset in South Bristol Community Hospital which we should be making the most of. I’m concerned that re-tendering services here may have a negative impact on the hospital and supporting services.
“We need a considered and strategic approach with increased accountability in order to ensure patients in Bristol South and beyond have the services they need and deserve.”
BNSSG CCG Governing Body Meeting
Date: Tuesday 8th January 2019
Location: The Weston College, Knightstone Road, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 2AL
After it was cancelled twice previously, I was finally able to present my amendments to the Offensive Weapons Bill. This new clause would require the government to publish a report on the safety of air weapons.
This is an important matter of public safety and I believe would help us move one step closer to preventing further deaths or injuries through the misuse of air weapons in the future.
Last week Professor Philip Alston, the United National Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was in Bristol taking evidence as part of his assessment of poverty in the United Kingdom and in particular on so-called peripheral estates in large cities.
This is the letter I have written to Professor Alston highlighting the impact of austerity on residents of Hartcliffe & Withywood ward since 2010, which has been devastating.
I will continue to challenge government decisions which impact so badly on people living in Bristol South and I look forward to reading the full report when it is published next Spring.