Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: It’s Summer – back to work

This week, Nick’s focus is on the Liberal Democrats’ Million Jobs campaign. He talks about his experience shadowing an apprentice in a pharmacy in his Sheffield constituency. We’re glad he reassured us that his work was carefully double and triple checked. Find out what other Liberal Democrat MPs are up to in their areas…

libdem letter from nick clegg

This summer, Liberal Democrat MPs and Peers are going back to the shop floor and finding out what it is like to be an apprentice.

For my part, I spent some time last week stepping into the shoes of 18-year-old Genna Hibberson, an apprentice pharmacy technician in Sheffield. It’s a tricky job. You have to be very precise when handling medicines because there’s no room for error when you’re dealing with people’s health – is it the right dose? Are the instructions correct? Is it in the right container? Everything has to be double and triple checked.

Luckily, Genna was very patient with me. I definitely didn’t show anything close to the talent or expertise she has, but at least she reassured me I didn’t make any mistakes!

So far this summer, a number of Lib Dem MPs and Peers have got stuck in at workplaces around the country and more will be doing so in August and September. For example, Danny Alexander has spent time as an apprentice butcher and baker at his local Morrison’s; John Leech went to work at a social housing company; and Andrew Stunell has mucked in at an Aldi branch.

It’s about practising what we preach and selling the benefits of apprenticeships to young people and employers.

I’m hugely proud of the massive expansion of apprenticeships that Liberal Democrats have overseen in government – more than a million new apprentices since 2010.

As part of our A Million Jobs for a Stronger Economy campaign I want all Liberal Democrats to bang the drum about apprentices. I want us to tell young people how great they are for getting into skilled, challenging and well-paid careers. And I want us to tell businesses that taking on apprentices gives them the skilled workers they need to thrive and expand.

Join the campaign here.

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  • David Wilkinson 28th Jul '13 - 2:44pm

    Danny Alexander spending time as a butcher, priceless. He has had three years practice

  • Frank Booth 28th Jul '13 - 3:39pm

    Rather than spending time as apprentices wouldn’t it be better if the Lib Dems actually tried to do something to help the economy? What has Vince actually achieved as Business Sec? Forget the latest GDP figures (froth) the underlying economy remains desperately weak.

  • DefenestrateClegg 28th Jul '13 - 4:44pm

    Surprised Danny Alexander wasn’t doing forestry, but suppose he doesn’t need any more expertise in axing does he ?

    This kind of patronising approach is not going to win the party any favours.

    It’s also misleading for the headline to say ‘back to work’ when in fact Clegg is soon off on another holiday jaunt at a time when many people will not be able to afford a holiday as Coalition austerity takes its toll.

  • David Evans 28th Jul '13 - 5:15pm


    Indeed. When you have inherited a ship that the previous captains deliberately sailed too fast for two long and ran it into a series of icebergs, is now holed below the waterline in several places and is about to go under, keeping it afloat and level for three years is a massive achievement. We may actually now be reaching the stage where the deficit can be repaired properly while still carrying the dead weight of Labour’s debt. Then there is just the debt itself debt to pay back.


  • David Allen 28th Jul '13 - 6:15pm

    Some time back, Paddy Ashdown wrote a book called Beyond Westminster which was superficially a bit like this stunt. Paddy travelled far and wide, and visited a lot of very different people. Then he wrote, often very interestingly, about what he had learned, and how it had affected what he would say and do when he got back to Westminster. The contrast with today is painful.

  • Michael Parsons 29th Jul '13 - 10:04am

    Ha! ‘Luckily, Genna was very patient with me. ‘ Well that’s more than most are, I suggest.

    As to “repaying debt” if tax-payers’ money is used to cancell entries on a bank’s loan book, the money is effectively destroyed. Do that often enough and the economy comes to a stand-still- inspired by an ideolgy of austerity that insolently pretends housing-bubbles are “economic growth”, while the UK oligarchy repeats the stupidities of the 1972 property boom (and much since) in their pocket-lining exercises. It isn’t as if they don’t know how to aid the people and deal with slumps, but that they won’t..

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