GORDON BIRTWISTLE MP: Wonderful news about University Technical College coming to Burnley

Gordon Birtwistle
Gordon Birtwistle
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Burnley’s fantastic contribution to UK exports

It was brought home to me how important exports are to growth in the UK’s economy, and how proud we can be of Burnley and Padiham’s contribution to this growth.

I met Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, for an extremely positive meeting about the importance of exports for the growth of our country. Growth in exports over the last 12 months has risen by 5%, yet UK domestic growth has diminished by 3%. These figures underline the huge importance of exports to the UK.

Burnley’s contribution to this growth in exports is absolutely key. We are a major manufacturing and exporting town - a town that makes things - and we are playing a big part in ensuring that growth is still in the economy, albeit at a lower level than we would like. Lord Green updated me on the great work his department is doing. They are working frantically to help regain some of the export markets lost over the past years of both Labour and Tory governments.

Banging the Drum for Design and Technology

IN Parliament I met a number of Design and Technology firms. The national curriculum is currently under review, and they are concerned about the need to retain Design and Technology in the secondary schools curriculum. D and T deserves to remain a compulsory subject and I am pressing the Government to retain it as such.

We need to inspire young people to go into the engineering professions. It’s wonderful news that East Lancashire’s first University Technical College is going to be in Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle. This is fantastic news for young people who want to specialise in technical subjects, and giving them the skills for the jobs in the future. Lots of jobs will also be created in regenerating the buildings, again fantastic news for Burnley.

The new college makes it even more vital that young people in our area are D and T savvy. Design and Technology, with its up-to-date focus on high technology, is crucial for preparing our young people for the jobs of the future, and if the UK is going to become one of Europe’s leading high tech exporters.

In the constituency

BACK in Burnley I attended the Blaze Celebration, a celebration of creative and sporting achievements of young people in our region. This was a really positive event, showing the fantastic things that young people can achieve. Blaze is a culture and sport programme across Lancashire, working with young people on vibrant and creative projects. The young people involved are a real credit to our region, and should be very proud of their successes.

I visited RS Engineering, another really busy company. This general engineering company employs about 30 people and produce high tech, extremely high quality products. They have just got a major contract from Italy, and it is remarkable to see how UK firms are again taking work back from other countries – for reasons of quality and service, as well as price. I held a productive meeting with Mark Brearley, the head of East Lancs Hospital Trust, where we discussed at length some major proposals he has for Burnley General Hospital.