Westminster Column

26th August 2016

For many of my young constituents (and their parents) summer often brings with it an agonising wait for their A, AS-Level and GCSE examinations.

I am delighted to once again congratulate all of Sutton's students who have achieved so highly in their A, AS-Level and GCSE examination results.

Throughout the last year I have visited all of Sutton's secondary schools (and many of the primary schools) to speak to those students facing important exams and decisions in regard to their future.

I have met many of the pupils during the course of my visits and activities in Sutton, including joining Sutton Coldfield School's debating competition winners for lunch recently in the House of Commons, and it is no surprise that they have done so well.

I have always been committed to providing the right opportunities for young people and have strongly supported equipping them with the skills and support they need to succeed.

Earlier this summer I was encouraged by the overwhelming response from employers and job seekers at the Jobs and Careers Fair and have offered my full support to the Job Centre to end youth unemployment in Sutton.

In order to help our young people reach their full potential, it is imperative that we build their confidence and enable them to take advantage of opportunities available to them.

Recently, I met the management of the UpRising Birmingham Leadership Programme to find out more about their initiative for young Suttonians. UpRising is developing a new form of leadership; a programme directed at talented young people aged 19-25 who live, work or study in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham.

It aims to equip them with the knowledge, networks, skills, experience and confidence to become future leaders in politics and public life as well as to change their communities for the better.

Over the course of the programme UpRisers receive training from leading journalists, business and community leaders, politicians and activists.

On a previous occasion, I met pupils on the programme who outlined their individual social action projects and having seen their hard work I arranged for the group to visit the Palace of Westminster for a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

I was impressed to learn about the strides the impressive and able young pupils had made when I met Mikayla Jones (Birmingham project manager) to receive an overview of the cohort's development.

I commend the work that UpRising does to foster cohesive community relations in the form of their social action projects and the way in which they develop and cultivate the very best of our young and talented.

The history-making Olympics for Britain remind us how far talent and hard work can get our young people and how with the right support they can inspire a generation.

Team GB made us proud in Rio where we took more medals than we have ever done at an overseas Games.

I am particularly proud to congratulate two of Sutton's own who represented our Royal town as part of Team GB's victorious games.

I am sure my constituents will join me in congratulating Laura Unsworth for being part of the gold medal winning women's hockey team and Robbie Grabarz for his phenomenal performance in the men's long jump.

I am sure they will enjoy a celebration fit for heroes - and rightly so, because that is exactly what they are.