Last week, young people received their GCSE, A-Level and BTEC results, and made it through a tremendously tough year and a half. They did themselves proud, and we had an exceptional array of results from across Tameside – well done everyone!

As the dust settles on a busy week for students, their attention will no doubt now turn to the future; what will happen next? Should I go to university or look at apprenticeships? What kind of job do I even want? I know that many parents and carers will spend most of this week easing concerns and doing their best to help answer some of these tricky questions.

My initial advice for students would be to take a moment to appreciate the considerable work that you’ve put in to get to this point. As I said in my column last week, you’ve done exceptionally well over the last year and a half and should be tremendously proud of yourselves.

My next piece of advice would be to be optimistic about the future. Yes, there’s no getting away from the fact that our lives have been uprooted by the pandemic, however, as more and more people get vaccinated our attention must now turn to rebuilding our society in a more equal and ambitious way. The opportunities for the future are exciting, and we desperately need ambitious, talented, and determined young people to make the difference.

I passionately believe in Tameside’s young people, and local councillors and I will continue to fight on a local and national level for additional support for this cohort. I want to see a proper educational catch-up plan and will keep putting pressure on the Government to outline how it will work with businesses and universities to give our young people the opportunities they deserve.

I’m proud that Greater Manchester is leading the way in apprenticeship employment and am excited by the work that Greater Manchester Combined Authority are doing to ensure that more employers than ever are creating high quality, sustainable apprenticeships. I started my working life as a youth trainee at a large computing company, so know first-hand how valuable vocational training is. That real-life experience led me to introduce a Private Members Bill to increase the number of higher and advanced apprenticeships included in publicly awarded contracts. Unfortunately, that Bill didn’t make it through the 2010-2015 parliament, but giving young people the employment opportunities they deserve remains one of my key political ambitions.

Out of the toughest of years, the future is so bright for Tameside youngsters. Whatever your results, it’s a very exciting time to be a young person, and local councillors and I will be with you every step of the way on your journey to success.

Constituency Office Address

Town Hall, Market Street, Denton, M34 2AP

Parliamentary Office Address

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA