Now that exam season is over, I’m pleased to welcome work experience students again.
Around 40 sixth-formers from High Peak have spent a week in my office in Buxton and with me in Parliament.
It’s great to see so many of our young people interested in politics and keen to find out more. And it’s an opportunity for me to hear what they think is important, and their experience of living in High Peak.
Students tend to spend Monday and part of Tuesday helping in my office in Buxton. There are always plenty of topics to research and admin work to do – to give an idea of the variety of issues I need to find out about, as well as how much admin is involved in any office!
Later on Tuesday they travel down to Parliament where I meet them in the evening and show them around. Some have friends or relatives in London they want to stay with, but those that don’t have the option of the spare room in the house I share.
On Wednesday morning they have the opportunity to see my work on the Select Committee for Work & Pensions.
In case that doesn’t hold their attention for two hours, they also have a guided tour of Parliament (by a professional guide as my knowledge is somewhat scanty!) and I queue to try to get them a ticket to watch Prime Minister’s Questions.
Whilst that isn’t Parliament at its most edifying, it’s always interesting to hear their views on the questions and replies (or lack of them!)
On Wednesday afternoon they attend meetings and events in Parliament with me before heading back for Thursday and Friday in the Buxton office.
It’s good to be able to give young people the opportunity to see how Parliament works, and the varied issues that I deal with – from details of legislation on pensions and benefits, to local issues from potholes to hospitals.
There’s a lot of pressure on young people these days – from social media abuse, to low-paid work, criminals preying on them, and the pressure to do well in exams.
Even when knocking on doors at weekends, I usually don’t hear from young people, so it’s valuable for me to see how I can help improve our area for young people.
Offering work experience is very rewarding and I’d encourage any employer to help our great young people find out more about work.
I also believe our democracy should be open for everyone. I welcome any constituents visiting Parliament, my office can book free tours, and I try to get tickets for the public gallery when Parliament is sitting, so do get in touch if you’d like to.