High profile MPs visit YMCA Training Centres

12 July 2017

Over the election period, a number of high profile prospective MPs visited YMCA Training centres in their constituencies to learn about our Opportunity for Change manifesto, and to see first-hand how YMCA Training help young people gain the skills they need to achieve their aspirations.

In Doncaster, Labour Party candidates Caroline Flint and Rosie Winterton led an awards ceremony for learners and both gave inspirational speeches about overcoming adversity and the importance of education for improving social mobility. Both speeches were especially appropriate given the many adverse and unforeseen obstacles young people are now facing.

While, in Leeds, Labour’s Hilary Benn debated our learners on a range of subjects, from the role of an MP to terrorism and democratic participation, and heard directly from them about their experiences with their apprenticeships or study programme courses.

Likewise, Ben Gummer, the Conservative Party candidate in Ipswich was extremely engaging with learners at the local YMCA Training centre, and spoke of the government’s intentions to build a ‘great meritocracy’ where people can succeed based on merit, rather than privilege. Ben was unsuccessful in his bid to be re-elected, but was able to assure us of his party’s commitment to Further Education, and we hope can continue to be a champion for apprenticeships outside of government.

All candidates who visited us, from both of the main parties, appeared to value the role that apprenticeships and the Further Education sector play in unlocking social mobility, and also appeared open to considering the six calls to action we outlined in our Opportunity for Change manifesto.

“Apprenticeships are a way of transforming the lives of young people up and down the country by offering them a direct path into a career of their choice. They are also a vehicle to help increase social mobility due to the opportunities they afford to those from lower income backgrounds.”
Group Education & Skills Director Lady Andree Deane Barron

Through a range of training programs, including Apprenticeships, Pre-apprenticeships and Study programmes, YMCA Training provides a valuable alternative route to traditional academic education, and in February of this year we received an Ofsted Good rating for our training provision.

In light of the UK’s growing skills-gap and stagnating productivity, it is critical that policy makers, employers and training providers do all that they can to help the Further Education sector, and thereby young people, prosper.

We believe that through working together with policy makers we can most effectively achieve our core mission of assisting young people lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives. We were therefore delighted to have Hilary Benn, Caroline Flint, Rosie Winterton and Ben Gummer visit us, and look forward to working with them again in the future.