Holyrood Notes - Ministerial and constituency work fill up recess

Parliament returns on Tuesday (September 5). It feels like the summer recess has disappeared in the blink of an eye.
As well as visits to universities and colleges across Scotland, towns across the county including Kirriemuir, Carmyllie, Arbroath, Arbirlot and Newtyle have hosted constituency surgeries.As well as visits to universities and colleges across Scotland, towns across the county including Kirriemuir, Carmyllie, Arbroath, Arbirlot and Newtyle have hosted constituency surgeries.
As well as visits to universities and colleges across Scotland, towns across the county including Kirriemuir, Carmyllie, Arbroath, Arbirlot and Newtyle have hosted constituency surgeries.

That’s what happens when you pack your weeks with work, both of a constituency and ministerial variety. I’m not complaining. My hectic schedule of the past few weeks was to some degree a matter of choice.

Shortly before Parliament rose at the beginning of July the Government published two reports recommending a considerable degree of reform to the post schools education environment, for which I have responsibility. The far-reaching recommendations will have consequences for colleges, universities, apprenticeships, how we meet skills shortages and deliver careers advice.

I felt it important to get out across Scotland to engage with those who’ll be impacted. In the course of August, on the university front I’ve visited Glasgow Caledonian, Aberdeen, SRUC and UHI and been to South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife Ayrshire and Forth Valley colleges.

I’ve also been to a Youth project in Shettleston, met with representatives of the Scottish Youth Parliament, attended Youth Scotland’s Big Idea event in Stirling and engaged with a variety of apprentices in the likes of Ayrshire to get a wider perspective on the kind of changes young people want to see.

Of course, these reforms will impact people working in a variety of sectors who themselves will have thoughts on how they might best be delivered so I spent time with front line staff at Skills Development Scotland from all over the country, who deliver careers services currently, to hear their thoughts.

This column was actually penned en-route from that session held in Glasgow because it was pretty much the only time I had to complete that task!

But before someone asks what I have been doing locally…Many towns in Angus South including Carmyllie, Glenisla, Kirriemuir, Arbroath, Arbirlot, Newtyle and Carnoustie have hosted my constituency surgeries which helped contribute to a substantial constituency caseload.

Getting out in the constituency is a priority for me and one which no amount of ministerial work will hinder. But it’s back to the established routine now, involving Tuesday-Thursday spent at Parliament.