Apprenticeship opportunities available in Brent


Not quite Alan Sugar and ‘The Apprentice’ but opportunities are available for residents aged 16-24 who are looking to start their careers.

Brent Works Apprenticeships provide roles for local young people, helping them gain a nationally recognised qualification, practical experience and earn a salary. The team work across a variety of industries, with opportunities available for many career paths.

Vacancies can be viewed on the website, and for more information contact the on 020 8903 6825 or email

Ward Working Money invested in Shaping Futures Project

Last year, ward working funds from Dudden Hill were invested in the Shaping Futures project. We allocated a quarter of our spend on this because we realise the importance of it.

The project involved a series of workshops to help young people develop key skills and find future employment.

Given that our youth unemployment rate is 9.4% in Brent, it is important that we invest in this area. The project was run by Cricklewood Homeless Concern.

Observations from Labour Party conference 2011

Last week I attended Labour Party conference 2011 for the first time.

One thing that I was moved by was by how far the Young Labour movement had come and is progressing. The Labour Party is the natural home for young people and the Party has recognised the importance of young people and the role they play in the Party.

In Refounding Labour, the Party has given Young Labour the power of an affiliate vote so that in future leadership and deputy leadership elections, Young Labour will be able to nominate a candidate as an autonomous group.

At a Young Labour fringe meeting, Ed Balls also revealed that one in four members of the Labour Party were under 27! The Tory equivalent, ie. one year after they lost the 1997 election, the average age of their party was nearly 70!

I was also delighted with the amount of very young Councillors that Labour has. I thought I was young when I was elected at the age of 24 last year; but I was meeting Councillors in their teens!

The future’s bright, bright red, the future’s Labour!

Ward Working funds for AFC Wembley to work with NEETs in Dudden Hill

Many may be aware that the Church End part of Dudden Hill Ward is statistically one of the most deprived areas not only in Brent, but also perhaps in London and the wider Country.

NEETs is the term applied to people who are Not in Education Employment or Training. In a joint venture with Labour Councillors in Harlesden Ward, we decided to provide funds to AFC Wembley to work with young people in the area to provide guidance and involve them in whatever aspect attracted their tastes with the club. If they were interested in developing a career in marketing, or music, or IT, or whatever, AFC Wembley would find a role and accommodate and provide life mentoring and guidance and support also.

Join the Labour Party now for 1p

Under 27s can now join the Labour Party for 1p. The offer lasts until May, but it will be the best penny you will ever spend. It’s hard being a young person in Brent today. I left University with a debt well into 5 figures. Now that I am working, I get money directly taken away from my salary and given to the Student Loans Company. Take it from my own experience. It’s hard.

Under Lib Dem and Tory plans which will treble tuition fees, an even bigger chunk will be taken away from people’s wages which will affect the life decisions that people make. It could determine where people can realistically afford to live. What goods they want to buy. What they can afford for their new born children. For that reason, I think it’s wrong what the Coalition Government are doing to young people in Britain today.

You can make a difference by becoming actively involved in politics and joining a Party that has treated me as a young person in Britain today well. I have always felt welcome in the Brent Labour Party and I hope to stand by and support other young people who wish to join me and take up the offer of becoming a Labour Party member for 1p. Click here to join

… and it’s never been a more better time for young people to join the Labour Party in Brent. We have recently set up Brent Young Labour which serves to be the young wing of the Party in Brent. It gives young people the opportunity to have a meaningful collective voice within the Party as well as to interact with eachother and build confidence to reach their aspirations in life.

Coalition Cuts to Brent Council: Children and Families

I previously mentioned here, that I would provide greater detail to reduction in Central Government Grants allocated to Brent Council for Children and Families. In Summer 2010 the Government cut £1,882,000 to Brent Council’s Children and Families Grant.

The detail of Sarah Teather’s Government cuts stemming from the reduction in ‘hidden grants’ to Brent’s Children are impossible to justify or defend.

They include:

  • £68,000 reduction to care at home packages.
  • £101,000 reduction in grant to fund Connexions. This will lead to non-renewal of four staff contracts and reduce contracts with the voluntary sector. Connexions provide information and advice to people to help make the decisions and choices in their lives.
  • £26,000 grant to help tackle young people’s substance misuse. This could lead to a reduction in outreach work and targeted support.
  • £162,000 reduction in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
  • £211,000 reduction in the Children’s Fund grant which could lead o a reduction of contracts for ESOL classes, parental support for vulnerable families, targeted sexual advice and support and an e-safety programme.
  • £27,000 reduction in Teenage Pregnancy Grant which could lead to reduced services provided to children in Brent at risk of becoming parents.
  • £45,000 reduction in the Youth Opportunities Fund which will lead to schemes being reduced or re-prioritised.
  • A whopping £326,000 reduction in the Think Family grant, which will lead to a reduction in support to parents which is available at universal as well as targeted levels as well as a reduction in the Family Intervention Programme.
  • £75,000 reduction in the Playbuilders grant which will lead to ceasing or scaling back of schemes that were already agreed to extend children’s play facilities.
  • £30,000 cut to the Brent Community Friends grant, which will lead to some loss in services that are provided directly to looked after children.

As the Government Minister in the Department for Education, it is atrocious that MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather is inflicting so much damage to Brent’s children. Especially to those who are most vulnerable as the outlined cuts mentioned above suggest.

Brent Central MP Sarah Teather votes for tuition fee cap rise

For the first time in history a MP representing Dudden Hill Ward has voted to increase tuition fees. Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has voted for the unprecedented hike in tuition fees and has broken this personal pledge she made to the National Union of Students.

When fees were first introduced through the Teaching and Higher Education Bill in 1998, then MP for Brent East, Ken Livingstone voted against his own Government. In 2004, to Sarah Teather’s credit she voted against the introduction of variable fees which raised University tuition fees in effect to around £3,000 a year with then Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy deeply opposing the increase in fees. This time around, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy who Sarah Teather instigated the ousting of, voted against his own Party and therefore against increasing the fee cap to £9,000 a year. Teather on the other hand sided with Nick Clegg and David Cameron.

As a member of a Government that was introducing this legislation, Sarah Teather had been silent on this issue and evidently avoiding public confrontation on how she vote. Given her track record on this issue, and the fact that she used her maiden speech in Parliament to highlight the point of student debt, I was hopeful that maybe her silence prior to the vote was because she was going to side with young people and vote against this unfair measure. Maybe she had listened to the protesters outside her constituency office. But no, in the end the roar of the ministerial car was louder than the voices of young people in Brent.

Dear Sarah Teather, Do the right thing

Tonight is the vote where a whole generation will learn the fate of their future. Whether they will be consigned with levels of unamiginable debt.

Despite daily protests outside her Willesden Green office, we are yet to hear a word from our Brent Central MP on how she will vote tonight. The Coalition Government Minister was one of those who signed the NUS pledge (not to be confused with a promise of course) that she would personally vote against any rise in tuition fees.

She has remained tight lipped even until today on the issue with the people of Brent having no idea what her thoughts are on the issue or how she will vote. Sky News tried to get an answer from her yesterday with no success (LINK).

All we’ve had so far is four word expletives (LINK).

I think this is a good thing as it means there is still hope. People in Brent will just have to wait in hope tonight to see if our local MP honours her pledge or if she sells out and condemns a generation of young people to a lifetime of debt.

Full Council Meeting 22nd November 2010 (last night)

Yesterday was the night of the Full Brent Council Meeting.

One of the items on the agenda was the first reading of the Council Budget. Not one Tory or Lib Dem Councillor seemed to ask a question on any items in the paper. It seems that they have been asleep for the past few years. They talked of financial mismanagement of the last Labour Government totally ignoring the banking crisis as if it was some imaginary incident.

What was really surprising was how outdated their Councillors are. Lib Dem Councillor Sami Hashi described £7 billion as ‘chicken-feed’. Tory leader Councillor Harshadbhai Patel quoted the £100 million in cuts and the £37 million that Brent Council would have to make next years as ‘nothing’ echoing ‘words of wisdom’ from a senior Tory last week who claimed that we’ve ‘never had it so good’. He also said that the Labour Government gave nothing to Brent. That is simply not true. The evidence is all there in people’s everyday lives. Record levels of investment in our NHS, record levels of investment in our schools, the Winter Fuel Allowance which benefits many of our elderly residents year-on-year, Children’s Centres, the transformation of the Central Middlesex Hospital, The Crest Academy, Wembley High, Capital City Academy… I could go on and on.

The Tories left our primary schools with catastrophic levels of underinvestment. Schoolchildren in Brent had to go outside in the cold to get to toilets that would be on the other side of the school building. That is beyond underinvestment. It was a scandal.

Labour did fix the roof while the sun was shining and Brent is far better off after 13 years of a Labour Government than it ever would have been under the Tory and Lib Dems.

Cutting the Aspirations of a Generation – Lib Dem Broken Promises: Tuition Fees

The Lib Dems have backed proposals that will lead to a rise in tuition fees. The £3,290 cap on fees is proposed to be removed meaning that top Universities will be allowed to double charges, cutting off access to top Universities for young people from lower and middle income families. This could increase charges for most universities by nearly £4,000 a year.

Source: Left Food Forward - Nick Clegg before the election, holding up a signed pledge that he will not increase tuition fees

During the election campaign, key Lib Dem figures held up pledges to vote down any proposed rise to tuition fees. A few ministerial cars later and they are actually actively proposing the complete opposite and looking to remove the cap on tuition fees, which will inevitably raise them to unprecedented levels.

Barely begun to pay back my student debt and it is worrisome for a young person in Britain today to think about how we will get out of the vicious circle of debt. I finished University three years ago with a student debt of nearly £15,000 and my current account in overdraft. Now that I am working, I think it is a manageable debt. But the magnitude of debt that the Lib Dems and Tories are going to impose on young people is disheartening. If fees go up for top Universities to over £7,000 a year, taking into account living costs, young people could leave University with debts of up to £50,000; more than what many parents paid for their mortgages! For families where more than one child aspires to go to University, this is a devastating blow.

The Lib Dems and the Tories say that we must move away from an economy built on the foundations of debt. If this is the approach they wish to have for our banking system, why are they consigning young people to a lifetime of debt?

What Sarah Teather has said:

Under [Labour] Government plans, students will soon have to pay £3000 a year to attend university. The Lib Dems predict that students leaving university could find themselves with debts of £20,000. The Liberal Democrats have launched a nationwide petition against these unjust fees. The Lib Dems call on the Government to scrap tuition fees and abandon their plans for top-up fees. Students should not be burdened with huge debts!

Source: Sarah Teather’s website!

“Labour, backed by the Tories, are creating a university system where less well off people will be unable to attend. I believe this is completely wrong. I am proud that the Lib Dems are opposing ‘top up fees’ as well as fighting to abolish tuition fees.”

Source: Sarah Teather – calling for Tuition fees to be AXED altogether

“Fear of debt is a major obstacle for students wanting to take up university places. A Barclays Bank survey has predicted that by 2010 students could face debts of up to £30,000. This is totally unacceptable. These plans are likely to mean that many of our brightest students in Brent would no longer be able to afford a university entrance fees.”

Source: Sarah Teather

But for me, the worst thing about this is that the one group that will be ignored and not consulted on this is young people. People who were 16 or 17 at the time of the May 2010 election may be affected by the changes that the Lib Dems will enact on tuition fees. However, they did not vote for it because they were not allowed to.

I wonder if this solution would be pursued if young people had the right to vote. The solution is to lower the voting age to 16. Another principle the Lib Dems seem to have abandoned.