Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Mike Moore rocket look of wonderment croppedLiberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Apprenticeships Campaign

Over the last few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices. I have visited many businesses across the constituency to see how they have managed to create very successful apprenticeship schemes.

As part of this ongoing campaign to increase apprenticeships in the Borders, last week I visited Hawick Cashmere to meet the apprentices there.

The company has invested heavily in the very latest technologies, but like other local firms in the Borders, they place most value on the skills, craftsmanship and knowledge accumulated from over a century of manufacturing. Their apprenticeship programme is absolutely vital for ensuring the next generation of skilled women and men in the workforce.

It was a privilege to meet the apprentices – Ashley, Heather, Hayley and Michael, on the factory floor. The skills and expertise they have developed over the course of their apprenticeship programme are very impressive.

A successful manufacturing sector is vital to the prosperity of our region and therefore, it was heartening to see this flourishing business training the next generation of skilled employees. Along with most other manufacturers in the area,  Hawick Cashmere is very clearly investing in the future.

Eyemouth Harbour nominated for Green Energy Award

I am delighted that Eyemouth Harbour’s offshore renewable marketing project has been shortlisted as a nominee in the ‘Community Initiative’ category in this year’s Scottish Green Energy Awards.

There were a record number of nominations for this year’s awards so this announcement is a great boost for the harbour’s development.  The plan for development of offshore renewable energy at Eyemouth is very impressive and therefore, I am glad that the project has been recognised in this way.

I regularly chair the Eyemouth Renewables group to discuss the ways in which the local Eyemouth community can benefit from the enormous economic potential of the harbour’s development.

I wish Christine Bell and the rest of the team at the Eyemouth Harbour Trust lots of luck for the upcoming awards in Edinburgh and hope they do well on the night.

Learning about engineering 

Over 25 MPs gathered in Westminster last week (photo above) to team up with aerospace apprentices from all over the UK and take part in a rocket launching competition.

The competition celebrated the launch of the 2014 UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge which sees teams of students aged 11-18 years old design, build and launch their own rockets to exacting specifications.

The event, which took place in a park next to the House of Lords coincided with ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers’, a government initiative to showcase the engineering careers options available to young people.

The Rocketry Challenge was a brilliant way to show more students what fun engineering really is and also to highlight the exciting opportunities that a career in engineering can offer.

Just don’t ask how far I managed to fire the model rocket on the day…


* Michael Moore was the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk from 1997-2015 and Secretary of State for Scotland from 2010-2013.

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One Comment

  • Bring back City and Guilds . The nickname for NVQ is Not Very Qualified. A carpenter told me standards started dropping when apprenticeships were reduced from 7 to 5 years . Michaelangelo undertook a 7 year apprenticeship.

    The problem is that for many electrical and mechanical apprenticeships many of the people leaving school lack the GSCEs in Maths, Physics and English. Due to poor standards at many schools many employers struggle to take on people worth training . Also , some students at Further Education colleges drop out of NVQs because o f the the low standards . If we look at catering/hospitality how many British students speak foreign languages? Hotel management at the highest level is dominated by the Swiss: many who have been up in family hotels and speak 4 to 5 foreign languages.

    If we are increase the industrial sector we need the same or better standards of technical education found in German schools and colleges. The attitude of the pupils, parents and teachers are what is vital : one can take a horse to water but one cannot make it drink.

    When the Roux brothers fast started in the UK none of their staff were British because they lacked the correct attitude. Now more people are taking up catering with the correct attitude. Look at Master Chef The Professionals ; the dedication to their craft, their technique and knowledge of these professional chefs is of the highest order. If the rest of Britain can emulate their attitude , then we can once again become the Workshop of the World.

    We produce some excellent craftsmen but not enough. George Best may have been one of the best footballers in the World but it did not make N Ireland the best football team in the World. If N Ireland had10 other players of the same standard of G Best it would have been the best football nation in the World. First we have to get the quality right and then the quantity. Just producing large numbers of mediocre craftsmen is waste of resources and gives people false hope because they will not be able to hold down a job. Sending 40% of people to university does not mean they all achieve Oxbridge/Imperial Standards .

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