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Are our Education Institutes a Gateway to Employment?

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker will be one of five speakers to debate whether there is a great enough focus on employability in our education institutes at a Question Time-style debate at The Hive on Tuesday 16 September at 6pm.

Official government statistics on “NEETs” – Not in Education, Employment or Training – reveal that the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds in education and training increased by two per cent at the end of 2013 compared to the figures from 2012.

Are new systems effectively safeguarding long-term job opportunities for young people, or is there still more to be done?

Speaking about the debate topic Mr Walker said: “As someone who has always been passionate about both education and employment this debate is right at the heart of my reasons for being in politics.

“Employers often tell me that they want more skilled young people and young people in Worcester who I meet in schools and colleges are concerned that they have the right skills for the workplace.

“With youth unemployment halved in Worcester since 2010, NEET numbers falling over recent years, more apprenticeships and more jobs we have been heading in the right direction but there is much further to go. My Select Committee work on Business, Innovation & Skills has highlighted this area as a key challenge, not just for Worcester but for the UK in the twenty first century. I am very clear that there is more to do.”

The full list of speakers at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Debate at The Hive include: Worcester’s MP Robin Walker; Ann Jordan, Head of the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester; Carl Flint, former Vice Principal of Heart of Worcester College; Susan Pennington, Headteacher of The Aspire Academy; and Stephan Natynczuk, founder of My Big Adventure charity.

The debate is the third in a series of joint initiatives between the RSA and The Hive to involve the public in topical discussions. The next debate on Remembrance Day, Tuesday 11 November, is ‘Have we forgotten the horrors of war?’ with speaker Maggie Andrews, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester, who has been acting as an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded adviser to the BBC in the West Midlands on its World War One at Home project.

Laura Worsfold, Business Development Manager at The Hive, said: "We are really pleased at the popularity of the debates we are putting on with the Royal Society of Arts and hope to host many more on a variety of topics to interest the people of Worcester. This is our third debate and it is an extremely topical one, with very eminent speakers. We hope people will come along and join in the discussion.”

Tickets for the debate cost £3 and can be purchased in person on Level 1 Information Pod at The Hive. For more ticket information please visit www.thehiveworcester.org/whats-on.