Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 9 March 2017


​What a brilliant, simple idea. Former pupils of a school going back and taking part in extensive workshop sessions sharing their experience of: university, apprenticeships, the workplace – to help to equip sixth formers to face the same challenges. I attended such a gathering at Hele School Plympton on Monday of this week and was very impressed.

You might think that such an obviously beneficial system would have been running for years. Not in the state sector. The idea started from a group of friends in Truro about 5 years ago who got together in a pub and came up with the plan. It went down a treat with their old school and spread by word of mouth until it was incorporated into a charity called Future First that now employs 40 people nationwide! It has secured government funding and is operating in hundreds of schools.

It was great to witness the interaction between bright 17 year olds and their former school mates just a few years older with a little bit more life experience under their belt. When I shared my own experience at university and let slip that this was between 1974 and 1977, it somehow did not have the same resonance.

Some of them had studied periods of history more recent than that! But those who are just a tad older, starting from the same school base, were able to share relevant, current experience, successes and failures.

There has never been a generation growing up under such pressure. Maybe in material terms, we have never been so well off. But what is it like being a teenager today? Access to unlimited information, for good or ill, a world of great uncertainty without the stable long term guaranteed jobs of yesteryear, a world of cyber bullying, sexting and obsessive body-consciousness.

These young people will probably have portfolio careers – moving from one job to another over their working lifetime with the pressure of ensuring their CV remains relevant. The pupils from Plympton will not just compete with the students from Plymstock or Ivybridge, but from Japan, India and China.

Possibly also robots! Any help we can give them to help them flourish in the uncertainty that we have created is time and resources well spent.

I enjoy spending time with sixth formers. I am nothing but optimistic about the future of our country when I experience their energy, passion and ability. Well done Future First – important work.​

posted by Gary @ 09:25