This week has been without question, one of the most frustrating I have had in Parliament. Not only did I sit through the Autumn statement by the Chancellor in which there was little more than crumbs off the table for Liverpool, but a construction training in Aintree closed its doors.
I had no real notice of the proposed closure, but on Friday 25th November I received word that the removal vans were pulling into the Liverpool Construction Academy to close the site. What compounded my frustration (and still does!) is that Newcastle College, who own the site, have been decidedly unhelpful. It’s bad enough that they failed to consult with the Liverpool City Council, but they never even tried to make contact with me, as the Member of Parliament for the area!
80 young people in my constituency following apprenticeship programmes will be turfed out of their educational institution without appropriate warning and will have to tavel a considerable distance if they wish to complete their training.
As a common courtesy, I tell other MPs when I m visiting somewhere on their patch. The least I would expect is for someone to tell me when they are proposing to close a facility on my patch!
Construction is one of the biggest employment sectors for people in Walton. The Construction Academy ensured kids were learning the skills they needed to go into lifetimes of work. Now the courses will be transferred to Skelmsdale. The dropout rate will be enormous. I want the facility in Walton to stay open, even if it means a community construction project buys the site off of Newcastle College. The problem I foresee, is that Newcastle College, do not seem to care about the lives of kids in Aintree at all.
I have written to the Chief Executive of the parent company and to the Minister of State to see if anything can be done to rescue the facility, even at this late stage. I want to explore every option to look at reopening this fantastic facility so that young people will once again receive training and industry recognized qualifications that will enable them to be able to compete in a very difficult job market.