MP visit to College gives students a voice

Tue 12 Nov 2013

Students at College had the chance to quiz MK North MP, Mark Lancaster when he took the unusual step of holding a constituency surgery on campus.

The Conservative MP, who has been in Parliament since 2005, met students and staff from the college to talk about the subjects of greatest concern to them. 

Top of their lists were a range of issues from transport to youth unemployment and job opportunities.
“I am always keen to support my constituency in any way I can” said Mr Lancaster. “I hold regular surgeries across Milton Keynes, but I was aware that I hadn’t done so at Milton Keynes College and was eager to change this and take the opportunity to give young people access to their Member of Parliament”.

Alexander Balicki, Programme Manager for Youth Work and Enrichment, commented, "I have been working with our local MPs for the last few months looking at a number of projects with them.
“We came up with this idea to provide learners with a bigger voice where they can discuss anything that's important to them - not specifically relating to education, but also wider issues in Milton Keynes that affect them."

Young people are often characterised as having no interest in politics but the College students certainly made the most of the chance to present their questions to Mr Lancaster.

"We want to know how he is going to help people get their foot on the career ladder, both with college leavers getting their first jobs and also getting the unemployed back in to work.” said Reena Singh and Lily Wilkerson, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students at the College.

Philip Creevy, a business and IT student said, "I want to know what his opinion is on unqualified teachers operating in Academies.” Mary Ann Eldridge raised a concern closer to home: "I want to ask Mark about Milton Keynes' bus services. I don't have a car and I find the service unreliable and it lets me down constantly."

The MP says this event has gone so well he hopes to be back to speak to more students soon. "I feel that this first session has been a great success; with this in mind, I plan on making this a regular occurrence."

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