Blog Type, Fellowship Blog | March 2017

February Fellowship Blog

February saw a number of parliamentarians make progress with their Fellowship programmes. Fellowship visits of note this month included Adrian Bailey MP spending time with Siemens Rail Systems in Northampton and being given a tour of National Academy for Rail, Callum Kerr MP visiting the Headquarters of Google in London, Catherine McKinnell MP sitting down with Orange Bus, and Guto Bebb visiting Tesco’s only carbon neutral superstore in Wales at Cefn Mawr. Read on to find out more:

On Thursday 2 February, Adrian Bailey MP visited Siemens King’s Heath Rail Depot and the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), as part of his Postgradu ate Fellowship examining manufacturing and apprenticeships. On arrival Adrian received a series of short presentations from Gordon Virgo, Fleet Delivery Manager at King’s Heath and Pieter Rypma, Key Account Manager, on Siemens current operations including rail systems, rail electrification and rail automation.

After a discussion on plans for the digital railway and skills, Adrian walked to the NTAR. There he was given an overview by Simon Rennie, General Manager, and a site tour where he was able to try out some of the virtual reality training for himself. It also gave the perfect opportunity for Adrian to discuss with trainees their thoughts about the Training Academy.

Adrian Bailey MP said:

“My visit to Siemens Rail Systems and the NTAR has been fascinating and I am extremely grateful to Siemens for hosting me. It was interesting to see at first-hand the King’s Heath Depot and examine the fantastic facilities available for apprentices at the NTAR.”

Find out more about Adrian’s visit here

On Thursday 9 February, Calum Kerr MP visited Google’s Headquarters in London and was accompanied by Hannah Bardell MP, the SNP Spokesperson for Business and Economy Engagement. Calum is the SNP Digital Spokesperson and is particularly interested in the digital economy and the impact this can have on businesses and the UK’s economy as a whole.

Calum was hosted by David Skelton, Public Policy and Government Relations Manager at Google and highlights of the visit included a tour of YouTube studios and an overview of UK engineering.

Catherine McKinnell MP visited Orange Bus on Friday 10 February to learn more about training and apprentices at the Newcastle based digital strategy company.

During the visit, Catherine met with Julian Leighton, Orange Bus CEO, who talked to her about Orange Bus’s history as well as how the company provides solutions to business challenges for both the public and private sector. Catherine then found out about how Orange Bus are supporting apprenticeships and developing tech talent within the North East in order to boost its workforce of the future.

Catherine McKinnell MP said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Orange Bus this morning and it is fantastic to see such a young and ambitious company flourishing in Newcastle. The work Orange Bus is doing to support and promote apprenticeships and develop talent is extremely impressive and I am delighted that although Orange Bus is expanding, they are committed to keeping their base in the North East.”

Find out more about Catherine’s visit here

On Friday 17 February Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Guto Bebb MP, visited one of Tesco’s flagship “Zero Carbon” stores at Cefn Mawr, as part of his Fellowship examining the retail and energy industries.

On arrival, Mr Bebb met Rhodri Evans, Local Communications Manager and Edward Williams, Store Manager, who gave him an overview of Tesco and its current operations in Wales, as well as the challenges facing the wider retail sector. Guto was then taken on a store tour where the discussions covered local sourcing and produce as well as Tesco’s commitment to recycling. To conclude, Guto received an overview of Tesco’s food waste activity and was given a briefing on the impact of Tesco’s Community Champions (CFCs) in the local area.

Guto Bebb MP said:

“It was fascinating to learn in more detail about Tesco’s current investment decisions in Wales and the challenges in the current climate. I applaud Tesco’s desire to be carbon neutral by 2050 and it was interesting to hear more about Tesco’s food waste activity.”

Find out more about Guto’s visit here

In other news:

  • On Monday 6 February, Tracey Jessup, Deputy Director of the Parliamentary Digital Service, visited the British Library as part of her Fellowship exploring digital communication and strategic leadership. Read more in her blog here
  • On Wednesday 22 February Lord Livermore visited Bayer for a briefing which discussed lifesciences and the challenges for the sector around leaving the EU. He met Dan Betty, Head of Health Government & Industry Affairs, Patient Access.

This month also saw the IPT proudly celebrating its 40th anniversary by exhibiting a series of Fellowship cartoons in Portcullis House throughout the month of February. The exhibition featured 20 parliamentarians who have completed an IPT Fellowship; including Conservative MP Pauline Latham, Labour MP Adrian Bailey and Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Scott of Needham Market. We are very grateful for the positive feedback to the exhibition from all parliamentarians. To find out more about the exhibition, please click here.

Finally, to see our full list of parliamentarians currently engaged in Fellowships, please click here.

We look forward to further visits in March!

Written by Alex Reeves, Parliamentary Officer.

If you would be interested in hosting any of our parliamentarians as part of their Fellowship, please get in touch with Liz Dawson, Parliamentary Affairs Manager at or call 020 7839 9405.