Author Archives: Rebecca Taylor

Addressing the mid-level skills gap and improving opportunities for low paid workers

It is widely recognised that the UK has a mid-level skills gap, which means employers can struggle to recruit for medium skilled occupations. At the same time, it can be hard for established workers (those over 25) to retrain or upskill if they aren’t supported by their employer or can’t self-fund.

In my day job at University College London working on a cross-disciplinary research programme addressing issues of justice and equality, I commissioned a researcher to prepare a report investigating this topic. Specifically, the report looks at the non-university skills gap many employers face and the routes to undertaking technical and vocational education for the over 25s in England.

The report “Routes to Opportunity – Addressing the non-university skills gap” reveals that while employers face a well-documented mid-level skills gap, established workers face barriers to upskilling and retraining to undertake medium skilled occupations.

To me it seems crazy that we’re failing to address the mid-level skills gap and failing to provide low paid workers with opportunities to upskill/retrain to improve their employment prospects and earning potential. Solving the latter will go some way to solving the former!

Posted in News | 14 Comments

Obituary: Susan Taylor – Another great Liberal light goes out

susan taylorIn the early hours of Thursday 2nd October 2014, long term Liberal activist Susan Annemarie Taylor (née Annemarie Susanne Goldschmidt) quietly passed away at the grand old age of 95 in Newcastle.

Susan was known in South London as one half of a fearsome Liberal duo with husband Brian who passed away in August 2013. Along with Brian she joined the Liberal Party in 1955 (having previously voted Conservative if rumours are true).

They set about persuading the good voters of Bromley that Liberal was the way to go, played a role in several famous London by-elections including Orpington in 1962 and Bermondsey in 1983, and toured the country in their trusty caravan helping Liberals all over the place include son Michael in Yorkshire and daughter Wendy in Newcastle.

Susan ran a fearsome committee room on election day. Woe betide any activist who thought they could have more than a quick sit down and a cup of tea; Susan would soon send them out again with leaflets to deliver or doors to knock until the polls shut. Although she did once famously confess that “I can’t get excited if Brian isn’t the candidate”.

Posted in Obituaries | Tagged | 9 Comments

Rebecca Taylor writes … the benefits of the Erasmus+ programme for young Brits

erasmusYesterday the European Union increased its commitment to providing learning and development opportunities for young people right here in Britain, through the launch of the revamped Erasmus+ programme.

The new revamped Erasmus+ programme has a total budget of £12 billion, with £100 million already earmarked for the UK in 2014 alone.  Along with my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Brussels we pushed for a bigger Erasmus budget than the previous scheme and were successful in obtaining a 40% increase at a time when the overall EU budget was cut. Grants will now be made available for education, training, youth and sport. In total it’s estimated that nearly a quarter of a million students, apprentices, teachers and youth workers will benefit from the EU grants.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Rebecca Taylor MEP writes…Can you help me campaign against e-cigs being regulated as medicines?

The EU is currently deciding how best to regulate e-cigarettes. Opinion is divided, with many public health organisations and most national governments – including the UK – pushing for the regulation of e-cigarettes as medicinal products, while consumers, manufacturers, along with some doctors and public health experts asking for a less stringent approach.

The European Parliament also voted against medicines regulation, adopting instead a Liberal amendment drafted by Frédérique Ries, myself and Chris Davies which aims to guarantee essential safeguards without resorting to medicines licensing.

E-cigarettes are a new and increasingly popular product used almost entirely by existing or former smokers (see …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 55 Comments

Obituary: Brian Taylor

Brian, Susan and Rebecca Taylor Brian, Susan and Rebecca TaylorBrian Harry Taylor, long serving stalwart of Bromley and Chislehurst Liberal Democrats, died peacefully in the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle on Monday 12 August aged 93.

Born in Putney, London in 1919, Brian’s political sentiments were first aroused against the Blackshirts and their targeting of Jewish immigrants in the East End of London in the 1930s. He joined the Bermondsey branch of the Communist Party in 1937, but was always more of an anti-fascist than a communist. He left the Communist Party in 1939 in …

Posted in Obituaries | 18 Comments

Rebecca Taylor MEP writes…Electronic Cigarettes: No smoke, but lots of fiery debate

You may have heard rumblings that “the EU wants to ban electronic cigarettes”. This is not entirely true; the new EU tobacco directive proposes regulating electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) under medicines legislation and there is fiery debate as to whether this is appropriate.
During the last few years e-cigarettes, devices resembling a cigarette or a pen/torch which enable the inhalation of nicotine containing vapour, have sprung up across Europe including in the UK.
Many e-cigarette users call their habit “vaping” and some prefer to call their devices “personal vaporisers” or PVs. E-cigarettes use a liquid containing nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco, but …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 41 Comments

Opinion: How my life changed forever – 100 days in!

At the start of this year I was a Lib Dem from Yorkshire working and studying in London who according to some journalists was an “unknown” – although I was quite well known in certain Lib Dem circles, especially for my quiches! The resignation of Diana Wallis, as Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber changed all that.

In 2009 I was third on the Lib Dem list for Yorkshire and the Humber. When you are third on a regional list and the …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments
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