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European Debate

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

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STUDENTS have taken their views of some of the pressing issues facing them to a Member of the European Parliament.

Following a debate on November 8 at the headquarters of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek, between students from Leek, Este in Italy, and Bad Windsheim in Germany - organised by leek Twinning Committee - Philip Bradbourn, Conservative MEP visited Westwood College in Leek on Friday, November 22, to meet the Leek students and discuss their findings and results.

The meeting started with introductions followed by an outline of the issues previously discussed with the Italian and German students which included the Energy Crisis, Immigration, the Minimum Wage, Public Transport and Youth Unemployment, and how they affected students in the UK and other European countries.

Mr Bradbourn stated that MEPs were there to support UK growth within European countries and reduce unnecessary regulation and red tape.

He answered questions on the difficulty of young people applying for jobs and work experience and suggested that students needed guidance on writing effective CVs and formal letters of introduction.

There were also lively discussions on the benefits of university education and apprenticeships.

The students talked of the problems with public transport and the need for cheaper fares for young people.

HS2 was debated and whether the high speed train was really required and what benefits it would bring.

Mr Bradbourn said he had enjoyed the debate and the way the students had prepared and presented the meeting.

He added: "I was delighted to attend this event and I applaud the leek town twinning committee for organising it.

"As politicians we have a duty to encourage young people to take an interest in politics as so many issues affect them."

"The students were particularly keen to discuss youth unemployment and public transport issues. Of particular concern to the students were access to the jobs market and I believe that we need to ensure that young people are given the best possible skills, matching the requirements of potential employers to ensure they are able to pursue a successful career."

Joe Porter, student at Westwood College and chairman for the session, said "As a group we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and speak to our MEP, Philip Bradbourn about two issues which are clearly at the forefront of local young people's minds at the moment.

"It was really good to conclude the project with such a successful meeting. We were able to lobby Mr Bradbourn about youth unemployment and public transport in real detail by discussing the problems and the potential solutions to both issues.

"Hopefully we can now share our success with other young people through assemblies and inspire them to engage in European politics.

"As a result of this project, I am now so excited about the prospect of being able to vote in next year's European Parliament elections."

Helen Ratcliffe, Chairman Leek Twinning Committee, said "Congratulations to the students from Westwood College and Leek High School who worked extremely hard on this project during November, and were a credit to themselves and their schools.

"From their comments they seem to have enjoyed the opportunity to work with their peers from Italy and Germany, and interact with politicians on issues important to them. Through twinning events and exchanges, Leek Twinning Committee is dedicated to providing youngsters with experiences not normally available to them."

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