Tackling education inequality

ParCar apprentices talk with MP Suella Fernandes
ParCar apprentices talk with MP Suella Fernandes
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Ensuring everyone in our country has access to opportunities to improve their lives is one of the reasons I got into politics.

I believe it is hugely 
important that whatever your background, there should be no limit to your aspirations.

So I was delighted to see the prime minister making an excellent and thoughtful speech last month on what more the government is doing to improve life chances.

For me, education is absolutely key to this agenda.

It is what I call the engine of social mobility, and is an issue about which I care passionately.

That’s why I was delighted to accept an invitation to join a cross-party commission on tackling educational inequality, alongside the former Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

We had our first meeting last week, and although we come at the issue from different political positions, we all agree that it is vital we tackle this complex issue.

Another aspect of this agenda that I have been 
highlighting is the importance of apprenticeships 
and training.

I believe they are crucial to unlocking opportunities and helping people achieve the satisfaction and security of a fulfilling job. 

Unemployment has been falling steadily over the last few years and there are more people in work than ever before. 

But it can still be difficult to find a job or the right training if you don’t know what opportunities are out there, if you haven’t been in work for some time, or if you’re looking to change direction.

So it’s very good news that the latest figures showed the number of apprenticeships in Fareham has risen significantly since 2010.

The statistics show the number of people starting apprenticeships in the Fareham constituency 
more than doubled from 
420 a year in 2009/10 to 880 
in 2014/15.

In total, over 4,000 people have started one in Fareham since 2010, which means more people getting the skills to get on in life.  

The government is continuing this progress and putting apprenticeships at the heart of its skills strategy, with a commitment in our manifesto to deliver three million more by 2020.

I want even more people in Fareham to benefit from these opportunities, which is why I have organised an apprenticeship and training fair, taking place this Friday at Fareham College.

It will give people looking to take the next step towards a career an opportunity to meet and speak to employers and training providers, including ParCar, NATS, Babcock, and many more.

I was very pleased that the Minister for Skills, Nick Boles, gave his support to the event when I raised it 
with him in Parliament last week.

He urged as many people as possible in Fareham to come along, and I hope they will.

Full details can be found on a dedicated website at farehamapprenticeships.co.uk/.