Yesterday, Sir Michael pledged his support for the 10 point action plan to help inspire future generations of engineers led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK.
The plan, part of the This is Engineering campaign, is informed by students (aged between 13-16 years old), and has been developed in response to the significant skills shortage in engineering – the latest figures from EngineeringUK indicate an annual demand for 124,000 engineers and a shortfall of 59,000.
The action plan calls for more businesses to pledge to run “taster days”– a shorter version of work experience – to help students understand the varied role of engineering, and for the Government to tie “taster days” into the upcoming careers strategy.
Following new research conducted by YouGov that shows that kids aged 13-18 are most likely to turn to Google (52%) for career inspiration, ahead of their parents (41%) and teachers (37%) the plan calls for more careers information to be hosted online and a focused effort by Government and industry to provide better information on further education and the opportunities for technician roles.
The report also urges politicians, education providers and the wider business community to support and promote local careers fairs and for politicians and businesses to proactively champion GCSE Design and Technology courses in their local areas. According to 2017 figures, D&T has disappeared from nearly half of schools.
This Is Engineering is a new, multi-year campaign to give more young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to explore careers in engineering, and to raise awareness of the breadth of opportunities available in the profession. Launched in the government’s Year of Engineering, the campaign is being backed by a consortium of major engineering companies.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “Engineering is vital to every aspect of life and will only become more so as technologies continue to develop. I would encourage all schools in Sevenoaks to work in partnership with local businesses to promote career fairs and follow the guidelines in the This is the Future of Engineering plan on how to run a successful event.”
My constituents continue to suffer appalling disruption with delays of 2-3 hours on their journeys to work now quite common. Trains are cancelled every day; those that do arrive are frequently late and over-crowded.
Six weeks on from the start of a new timetable which was supposed to bring better services this is clearly unacceptable. The government needs to demonstrate that it understands the frustration caused to so many travellers. Better compensation has already been announced for passengers in the Northern franchise area who will be receiving the cash equivalent of a four-week refund. I would like you now to require Thameslink to introduce an equivalent scheme for my constituent as soon as possible.
For head teachers in my constituency in need of talented graduates to fill (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) STEM subject teaching roles, I would suggest you take a look at the Teaching Apprenticeship Programme (TAP). Schools can hire Teaching Apprentices and in doing so access significant Apprenticeship Levy and grant funding. The TAP handle the whole process, from sourcing, screening and recruiting graduates for shortage subjects, supporting schools to access funding and delivering a 1 year programme which guides apprentices towards Qualified Teacher Status. Graduates value Teaching Apprenticeships because they are simple to understand and provide a fee-free, salaried route into the profession.
Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon visited Sevenoaks Hospital and its Minor Injuries Unit on Friday 22nd June. He met duty nursing staff and senior management. With representatives of NHS Property estates he inspected the new £500,000 upgrade of the hospital parking and drainage on both sides of the road.
Sir Michael said: “Sevenoaks Hospital is here to stay. Investment on this scale shows confidence in its long-term future, especially when the Minor Injuries Unit has never been busier. The unit is now being used by over 17,000 people a year. Almost every family in the district must have had some-one use it recently.”
The West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group is holding a public meeting at the Stag Theatre at 1.30pm on Tuesday 3rd July on its ideas to adapt the hospital into a “local care hub. Sir Michael added: “whatever they propose, we will not accept any cut in the services currently provided.”
In light of the housing target set by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in Sevenoaks, Sir Michael wrote to the Housing Minister, James Brokenshire, urging him to reduce the unsustainable and unrealistic target: Sevenoaks is 93% Green Belt and 6% Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it one of the hardest hit by the new target.
Sir Michael said: “The Government’s housing target for Sevenoaks is just unrealistic and I have urged the Housing Ministry to reconsider. I have always pledged to protect the Green Belt and I will continue to do so. My hope is for a balance between the need to provide some new and affordable housing for the next generation on one hand, and protecting our villages from intrusive development on the other.”
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Often referred to as “the suicide disease”, Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is a condition where any facial movement such as talking or smiling, or even light touch to the face, can bring on jolts of agonising pain.
Sir Michael this week attended a parliamentary reception on TN, a relatively rare condition which affects around 60,000 people in the UK, in the hope of raising awareness.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “At first, so many sufferers believe they are experiencing chronic tooth pain or a severe headache and end up going to their dentists and spending money on treatment they don’t need. Accurate and early diagnosing is crucial and we must make sure dentists are properly trained to deal with TN to help sufferers get the right treatment early.”
Sir Michael this week celebrated the 35th anniversary since he, and 100 other Conservative MPs, first entered Parliament. He started out as MP for Darlington in 1983, where he remained until 1992. In 1997, he became your MP for Sevenoaks.
Sir Michael was joined by 9 fellow MPs (pictured).
Sir Michael has today made clear that the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, needs to get a grip on the ongoing issue of train timetables.
During media appearances with BBC South East, BBC News and BBC Radio Kent, the Sevenoaks MP outlined that the Transport Secretary should use his ministerial powers to make peak time Southeastern services to stop at Eynsford and Shoreham on their way to and from London.
The Sevenoaks MP pushed for Thameslink to offer alternative transport solutions for passengers when rail services do not run properly, as well as a proper compensation scheme to be in line with the disruption that commuters have suffered. Answering questions in the House of Commons this evening, the Transport Secretary confirmed this would be rolled out, as would an independent review into the failings of the timetable implementation.
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Sir Michael has this week written to the Managing Director of Southeastern, urging him to make Southeastern trains travelling through Eynsford and Shoreham stop to pick up passengers who have experienced severe delays and cancellations as a result of the Thameslink timetable changes.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “Eynsford and Shoreham are smaller villages with fewer peak-time services into London than places like Swanley and Bromley. Southeastern services stopping at Eynsford and Shoreham would ease pressure on Thameslink and I have urged them to do that so my constituents are not further inconvenienced.”
Sir Michael has urged the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, to deploy more drivers who know the routes to and from London in order to ease the pressure on Thameslink’s services.
Currently, Thameslink do not have a sufficient number of trained drivers who know the routes from Kent to London, which has led to widespread delays or cancellations to peak-time services, leaving many commuters stranded. Thameslink have failed to prepare for the new timetable by not training enough drivers in time. Sir Michael will fight to ensure his constituents are not further inconvenienced.
The Sevenoaks MP said: “I see no reason why we should pay the price for Thameslink’s logistical issues and management failings. My constituents are rightly angry at how these timetables have been implemented and I will continue to press for other rail operators to deploy train drivers who know the London-Kent routes. This needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency.”