Making sure everyone has the skills they need to access the opportunities they deserve
"Everyone knows that talent and energy and enthusiasm and flair are evenly spread across the UK. It is opportunity that is not and it is the mission of this government to unite and level up across the whole UK not just because that is morally right but because if we fail then we are simply squandering vast reserves of human capital we are failing to allow people to fulfil their potential and we are holding our country back..." (Prime Minister, Boris Johnson)
Improving opportunity through post 16 education is where we can make the greatest difference in levelling up opportunities, and whilst our universities are quite rightly cherished, its time we assigned far greater value to practical and vocational education too. So that is why I have and will continue to work with our fantastic local colleges, business groups, and universities to help expand our skills offer across Barnsley and Sheffield.
The best way to make training more accessible is to be innovative in the courses we offer and the way in which we deliver them. That means making courses easier to access in our local communities, offering flexible courses that fit around work, integrating study with work placements, and ensuring that courses are designed to meet local need.
Everyone should be able to access the skills and training they need to enable them to get their first job, progress in their career, or start out on a new path in employment.
Barnsley College - I'm a strong supporter of Barnsley College and its innovative approach to further education. The vast majority of students from Penistone, Dodworth, and the surrounding area go on to complete their post-16 education at Barnsley College, so I'm pleased that the college provides a wide range of opportunities to enable students to pursue academic or vocational paths. Engaging with the College's leadership I hope to see them further develop their already fantastic facilities whilst making i easier for local people to access the courses on offer.
Northern College - The Northern College is an institution of national significance based here in our constituency. The College offers a second chance to adults who missed out on qualifications when they were younger or are looking to retrain and upskill. As a residential institution it allows students to focus on their study in a supportive environment that they may not be able to access at home. The college has faced financial uncertainties in recent years, but I have and will continue to work closely with the Principal and leadership team, and colleagues in government, to ensure it is able to continue as an independent residential college.
Stocksbridge Sixth Form - Stocksbridge has been without a sixth form or equivalent for far too long, and this has made it more difficult for local people to access education and training. There is no justification for expecting the young people of Stocksbridge to travel all the way into central Sheffield for the chance to learn and improve their life chances. Linking this post-16 provision with increased adult education opportunities will give people of all ages in the town the chance to learn new skills and build new connections between local businesses and education. A major focus of the Stocksbridge Town Deal and the Board that I co-chair is bringing forward the creation of a new post-16 education hub at Stocksbridge High School.