ALAN MAK: Engaging young people is very important

Alan Mak MP talks to students at Oaklands Catholic School
Alan Mak MP talks to students at Oaklands Catholic School
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PARLIAMENT is at the heart of our democracy, making decisions and passing laws that affect everyone.

But often the work of MPs and parliament isn’t well-known.

I’ve been taking part in UK Parliament Week to raise awareness of what MPs do, both in Westminster and in constituencies at a local level.

Engaging young people is very important to me, so I made schools a key part of my Parliament Week work, and spoke to students at Oaklands Catholic School about my route into politics and my role as your local MP.

It was great to hear from such an enthusiastic group of pupils, who had many interesting and topical political questions.

Clearly the events of the past 12 months have meant far more students than ever have an interest in politics generally.

Hopefully, I will have explained to them a little more about what I do to serve local residents, whether it’s organising my jobs and apprenticeships fair or campaigning for more school funding in Westminster.

I also visited South Downs College again, where I was guest speaker at their new business breakfast event, designed to bring together local business leaders.

We were served a tasty breakfast made by hard-working students, many of whom will go on to be apprentices in local firms, backed by government support for employers to take on young people.

Across Havant we are fortunate that so many young people are starting apprenticeships.

In fact, in just the past five years, double the number of apprenticeships have been started within the constituency.

Nationwide the government is committed to delivering three million more of them by 2020.

The economic argument for apprenticeships investment is overwhelming.

For every pound of government investment we can expect a £28 return in the economy.

While at South Downs, I also started planning my Havant Small Business Awards for 2017.

The News will be our media partner again.

Hopefully the event can repeat this year’s success, and I’m already looking forward to seeing who readers nominate as our area’s best small businesses.

On Wednesday the Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement – a ‘mini budget’ that helped working families and businesses in our area.

I’ll set out my detailed thoughts in next week’s column.

Alan Mak is the MP for Havant