WORCESTER’s MP Robin Walker writes for the Observer…
With GCSE’s and A-Levels underway, I would like to start this column by wishing all students in Worcester the best of luck the best of luck highlight. I recognise that this has been a challenging year and we tried to make some sensible adjustments to make sure students could focus their revision to prepare for exams most effectively.
I think over the past couple of years we have seen some of the challenges of the alternatives to the exam system and exams are a great chance for our students to show what they can do. I also think there is recognition now from the vast majority of the teaching profession that independently assessed exams are better and fairer. I wish all students well as they embark on this challenge.
As we continue to recover from the pandemic, it is great to see the growth of the employment figures. The latest figures suggest people are getting people back into work with April 2022 show a monthly increase, up 121,000 on the revised March 2022, to a record 29.5 million. Total weekly hours worked increased by 14.8 million hours to 1.04 billion hours in January to March 2022, compared with the previous quarter. The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. This is great news; however, this needs to be combined with higher wages and help for the cost of living.
It was also pleasing to see that disability employment is up with over one million more disabled people in work than this time five years.
I would like to highlight the amazing efforts that our community has made in in helping Ukrainian families and people who are impacted by the war. The amount of people who have come forward as sponsors and opened their homes has been remarkable to see and despite some initial delays, we are now starting to see a number of Ukrainians arrive in Worcester.
There has also been a huge amount of donations raised by Worcester charities, and I know the Ukrainians will be welcomed into the community with open arms.