MP’s in parliament can join ‘all party’ groups that bring together MP’s to tackle issues of common interest and plan ways to scrutinise government, promote an issue, and campaign for change. I hugely proud to have been elected chair of the all-party group on Further Education.

I’m determined as chair to make this a forum to get things done. further education is in crisis and it needs strong advocacy. Further education includes sixth form colleges and we have some of our country’s best in our city – Bhasvic Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College, Varndean College, and City College Brighton and Hove.

For my first meeting we had over 20 parliamentarians present and I jumped in with both feet by summonsing the Skills Minister, Nick Bowles who kindly agreed and spent an hour being questioned by myself and other parliamentarians. We achieved a lot and I’m following up with him on many of the issues we feel need attention. This week I’m chairing my next meeting and we will be examining the ‘area review’ which the government is implementing at the moment. This could change the face of how our local colleges are managed and it’s crucial we get it right.

In apprenticeship week especially we must focus on the alternative pathways that young people take into a successful career. This is another way that I can play a national leadership role in getting it right for young people who deserve better than they often get.

Did you go to a local college or are you at one now? How did it work out for you? I’m keen to hear about your experiences and how it equipped you for the challenges that lay ahead. All the best, Peter

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