Author Archives: Gordon Birtwistle MP

Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… A revived nuclear industry could unlock the UK’s engineering potential for generations to come

In March 2013, the Government published its Nuclear Industrial Strategy with the ambition to make the UK once again world leading in nuclear new build and decommissioning expertise. It is forecast that globally £930 billion is set to be invested in new reactors and a further £250 billion to pay for decommissioning.

But to take advantage of these growing opportunities, the UK needs to recruit and train far more people into engineering than currently. Figures from EngineeringUK show that the sector needs to recruit 2.2 million candidates over the next five to ten years in the UK. Despite the many opportunities in an engineering career, only half of 11-to-14-year olds say they would consider it a viable option. This figure dropped to barely a third among girls and, unfortunately, less than a quarter of parents said they thought engineering was a suitable profession for their daughters.

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Gordon Birtwistle’s apprenticeships report for January

I have had a busy start to the year promoting apprenticeships and meeting with businesses; I thought I would share some of my findings with Lib Dem Voice.

I’ve been on some fantastic visits over the past month or two, seeing some truly inspirational outfits offering apprenticeships. In December I visited Gloucestershire Engineering Training centre in Steve Webb’s constituency. The GET provides training in mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering disciplines. I met 88 first year apprentices, including Lib Dem member Eva Fielding, one of three female engineers on the programme. The MD communicated her primary concerns; namely costings and encouraging local …

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Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… Careers advice should reflect the value of apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are just a valuable as degrees – careers advice is vital to ensure this message is heard.

As Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, my job is to advocate and promote apprenticeships to businesses, young people and schools across the country; working closely with the National Apprenticeship Service and BIS.

Over the next two years (and in the upcoming months) I will be visiting more schools, training providers, businesses including small and medium enterprises and apprentices to hear from a range of people and to establish how the Government can improve on apprenticeships.

So far we have been up and down the country …

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Opinion: Making MORE in Britain with the Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable at a factory 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing had a hugely successful start, with the first campaign aim being implemented in the Autumn Statement. Our proposal on capital allowances saw the Chancellor increase the annual investment allowance from £25,000 to £250,000 for a two year period. This move by the Treasury will help businesses invest in plant and machinery and I am already seeing the difference in Burnley with a number of firms taking advantage of the …

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Gordon Birtwistle writes…Making the industrial strategy work in Burnley

Aerospace manufacturing is a huge contributor to the economic make up of Burnley, a town steeped in manufacturing tradition. International aerospace manufacturers Aircelle are at the forefront of high tech manufacturing for the aerospace industry and are a great provider of jobs and wealth to the local and national economy.

Burnley has benefited well from all three rounds of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The government has awarded £1.8m to the redevelopment of the old Michelin site into a brand new state of the art Aerospace Supply Chain Park. The bid was put forward by a consortium headed up by Aircelle …

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Gordon Birtwistle MP writes: Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing launches

As someone with a long-standing interest in manufacturing, based on having over 50 years’ experience as an engineer and employer in industry, I am very excited to be a member of the newly formed Liberal Democrat Campaign for Manufacturing Group.

This much-needed group aims to promote and develop manufacturing in the UK in both existing and new areas. Whilst we have a manufacturing sector to be proud of, it does require investment. Energising this sector is key to getting the economy back on track in the current difficult economic climate.

The Liberal Democrats have already delivered a number of key policies to support …

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Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… My response to the Budget

For me, this budget goes some way towards rebalancing the economy. The last Government left the country in almost financial ruin and have come up with no credible policies in opposition. The chancellor had very little to play with in his budget but I think the steps he is taking are the right ones.

This was definitely a budget influenced by Lib Dems. It was pleasing to see how many of our policies made an appearance in the budget, particularly the increase in the personal allowance over the next three years.

The budget also provided confirmation of the go ahead of the …

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