Adam Afriyie
MP for Windsor
Windsor MP welcomes National Apprenticeships Week

The MP for Windsor welcomes the National Apprenticeships Week, designed to promote apprenticeships and celebrate the positive impact that they have on both the economy and on social mobility.

The number of apprenticeships doubled over the course of the last Parliament and the Conservative Manifesto promised 3 million more high quality apprenticeships by 2020, a task already underway and predicted to accelerate once the Apprenticeships Levy comes into force.

348,300 apprenticeships have been created since May 2010 in the South East alone and in the constituency of Windsor 2,760 people have benefited from apprenticeships schemes.

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the figures:

“It’s great that so many people are recognising the benefits of apprenticeships and transforming their life chances.

“It’s also good to see the back of Labour’s foolish focus on universities to the exclusion of all other education streams is over and that the vocational route is beginning to enjoy equal esteem.

“2,760 people in Windsor constituency have benefitted from apprenticeships since 2010 and have equipped themselves with the tools they need to find a job, earn a living and contribute to Britain’s economic future. A Parliamentary Question I asked last year showed that this included a number in Engineering, Manufacturing and ICT.

“As someone who got into politics in the first place driven by the issue of social mobility I have taken a particular interest in ways in which apprenticeships can help someone’s life chances. Only last week I attended a lunch with Lord Baker and the Edge Foundation to discuss the need for careers talks to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships and University Technical Colleges.

“I would encourage all students to consider an apprenticeship particularly if they aren’t that keen on university at 18.”

ENDS

Note to editors

  1. Adam Afriyie has written at length on education and social mobility. To see his full record please see here and here.
  2. Adam Afriyie has a strong background and interest in science, technology and innovation due to his entrepreneurial background in the IT sector and a variety of posts he has held and/or currently holds, including Shadow Minister for Science, Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
March is Brain Cancer Awareness Month

Of all of the constituents I have met in the past decade few have made such an impression as Andrew Scarborough. Andrew was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of 27. While his tumour was impossible to fully remove Andrew is managing his condition and will hopefully be taking part in a promising ketogenic clinical trial being run at Charing Cross Hospital later this year.

Andrew’s story is inspirational but his illness is not unique. Brain tumours are far more common than one might imagine. More people under 40 die of a brain tumour than from any other cancer – 5,000 a year in total. In spite of this brain cancer research receives far less funding than some of the more well-known cancers. Just one percent of the total amount spent on cancer research in the UK is allocated to this devastating disease.

Thankfully the knowledge of brain tumours has got much better over the last decade despite the inadequate funding and this in large part due to the hard work of charities like Brain Tumour Research and Brain Tumour Support. They are to be commended.

Andrew is living proof that a brain tumour diagnosis need not spell the end of life’s opportunities. He has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the issues that affect those living with brain cancer and is currently working towards a degree in Human and Medical Sciences in order to study cancer and bring this awful disease to the forefront of research. I wish him every luck with his degree and future career.

Andrew’s experience should be the norm rather than the exception. Together, we can raise awareness and get more funding for brain tumour research. This March let’s do what we can to take part in Brain Tumour Awareness Month. It will be an opportunity to make people more aware of the problems faced by people living with brain cancer and what science can do to support people like Andrew. For information on how you can get involved take a look at Brain Tumour Research’s ‘A to Z’ of events and opportunities.

If you want to learn more about Andrew’s condition, then I’d encourage you to go on his website: http://mybraincancerstory.blogspot.co.uk/ and follow him on Twitter at @ascarbs.

Windsor MP welcomes Government progress on mental health funding

The Windsor MP welcomes the Government’s “revolution” in mental health care as part of a package of new funding and reforms aimed at improving treatment and removing the stigma attached to mental health issues.

The new targeted programs include embedding mental health services in every hospital emergency department, creating 24 hour round-the-clock community care as an alternative to hospitalisation and the provision of extra mental health care for expectant mothers and anorexic teenagers.

This follows a speech last month in which the Prime Minister called for a “more mature” conversation about mental health and for people to be less embarrassed or fearful to talk to others about mental illnesses and to seek help.

 

Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:

“This is a fantastic start to the year and a great example of how Conservatives are not only protecting support for people facing mental health challenges but actually boosting it

“You wouldn’t expect to be turned away from the NHS if you had a broken arm and I believe we should adopt the same approach for the millions of people who will experience a mental illness during their lifetime

Blockchains: The most important thing you’ve never heard of

You could be forgiven for having never heard of a “blockchain”. When I raised the issue of blockchains in Parliament it was the first time the word had been recorded in the Hansard record of parliamentary debate. It hasn’t been mentioned again.

Yet at tech events and forums discussion is ablaze with the seemingly limitless possibilities of blockchains, with some claiming they will transform the internet in the same way that the combustion engine revolutionized road travel. But what is this revolutionary new technology?

At its most basic: blockchains are a method of storing data. The advantage of doing so in a blockchain is that it is more secure, almost impossible to hack and cheaper to operate than a conventional database.

Traditionally data has been stored on a single central computer and people can alter that data only by going through a third party who has the power to change it. The data on a blockchain, however, is stored on every computer connected to the service and gets updated automatically without a central arbiter.

When someone wants to update or input new data, they first alter the record on their own computer and subsequently that amendment is verified by the other computers connected to the blockchain. The update is only confirmed and locked into the blockchain when 51% of the computers have verified it. Thus it is almost impossible for someone to counterfeit a record unless they controlled 51% of the computers on the blockchain.

Even if the technology behind blockchains is prohibitively complex and nerdy, its’ potential is not. Blockchains dissolve bureaucracy and shred red tape, a perennial problem in the public sector.

Virtually all of today’s digital infrastructure could be improved in theory with a secure blockchain whether it’s cataloguing business records, registering car ownership or, an idea that recently won an award from the Bank of England, allocating blood in the NHS Blood Supply Chain System more effectively.  Indeed if something is not currently undertaken because it is considered too complicated, such as interoperable electronic health records, a secure blockchain would have the power to enable it.

The question is whether they can be used without compromising security. I believe we would do well to have a parliamentary debate on blockchains because the Government needs to recognise the power of blockchains to, not only, improve public services at a reduced cost to taxpayers but to create more powerful citizens in a smaller and more decentralised state.

The commercial opportunities of embracing the power of blockchain technology would not only give a big boost to Britain’s vibrant technology sector but our exports would also lay the foundations to aid developing nations’ digital infrastructure.

Windsor MP welcomes “massive” improvement in state schools

A new report released by the Good Schools Guide has revealed that the performance of state schools has increased “massively” over the last three decades.

The proportion of state schools in the top 1,200 list has increased from 48 in 1986 to 300 in 2016 – a sixfold increase in thirty years.

Lord Lucas, who edits the advisory guide, has said that he expects many independent schools to either turn into government free schools or close altogether due to the strong quality of local state schools.

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the figures:

“As someone who got into politics in the first place to improve social mobility this is simply fantastic news. Improving state schools is the silver bullet to solving the issue of social mobility in this country.

“It confirms that free schools are helping to lift standards across the spectrum.