9th May 2014
A packed audience of local employers, apprentices, and A-Level students together with East of England Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff came together today at Oaklands College, St Albans, to listen to Business Secretary Vince Cable MP over a breakfast prepared by the college apprentices.
After being introduced by Zoe Hancock, college principal, Vince, a former chief economist for Shell, gave a masterclass talk on Britain's economic position and prospects and the challenges of achieving sustainable recovery. He emphasised the importance of "developing a long-term strategy beyond the short-termism of the political cycle".
Vince described the huge increase in apprenticeships under the Coalition Government, led by his department. Two million new apprenticeships will have been created over the lifetime of this Parliament.
The subsequent vigorous question and answer session saw points being raised by all sections of the audience with a particular emphasis on the skills agenda and how young people and their families can be encouraged to see the real merits of the apprenticeship route. Questions also came from apprentices and A-level students.
St Albans Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington closed the meeting by describing his own start in life as an 18 year old apprentice in Germany loading lorries and how his German industrial experience when compared with jobs in British factories beset with industrial strife led him originally to become a Liberal.
"When we got Vince's agreement to take time out of his horrendous schedule to come to St Albans, I was determined to showcase Oaklands to him as a jewel in the St Albans crown," Sandy said. "The college did brilliantly in bringing together such an interesting mix of audience. And Vince really enjoyed his subsequent tour meeting young people learning about motor repairs, building and catering."