One of the most important parts of my job as Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean is to promote opportunities for young people, and also older career changers. Great progress has been made on this during my time as MP and there has never been a better time to pursue educational or career development opportunities in the Forest of Dean.
In 2022, the AccXel Centre in Cinderford opened its doors to its first apprentices. Spearheaded by local building firm K W Bell and bolstered by the £2 million I helped them receive from Government’s Getting Building Fund, this partnership between Government and industry has created the most forward thinking and innovative construction training school in the country. Their unique programmes offer both a theoretical and practical construction education, utilising the latest technology such ‘mock-live sites,’ combining virtual and real learning environments. I’ve welcomed ministers to the site during its building and after its opening, and HRH The Princess Royal has even paid a visit to the impressive facility.
The Forest of Dean has also welcomed a new state of the art sixth form college campus in recent years, after I personally lobbied the Treasury for the funding. For too long students have had to travel to the far ends of the constituency or beyond to get an A-level education so I am delighted that we now boast a new college in the heart of the Forest to enhance our educational offering. Having already built a reputation as an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rated school, Dene Magna have partnered with Gloucestershire College to deliver quality courses from their bespoke campus.
I have also been proud to help the constituency welcome its first university, supporting Hartpury University on its six year journey to obtaining university status, talking to ministers and stressing the importance of this to the Forest of Dean. I am delighted that Hartpury graduates are now globally recognised and that such a high standard of the teaching, learning and research is being conducted right here in the Forest of Dean.