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Chris Galley

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Friday 1 February – Keeping young people in rural areas

At the Executive last Saturday, where I was selected as a finalist for the Open Primary on 8 February, one of the questions I was asked was “What would you do to help keep young people living and working in rural areas?” This is a very real issue in North Northumberland – there is a shortage of both affordable housing and decent jobs.

Well today I had a meeting with the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, Matt Hancock, at Kirkely Hall, the agricultural and land skills college in Northumberland. So I asked him the same question.

HancockKirkley

He replied by pointing out that one of the legacies of the last government was to train young people without considering the long term position. So we ended up 94,000 students studying hairdressing, when there were only 18,000 jobs for them. On the other hand there were 123,000 students on construction related courses, when there are 275,000 jobs open to them.

He also said that there was about to be a new initiative for developing rural employment, to be launched by DEFRA (Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) very shortly – you read it here first!