We ended 2023 with our Christmas Reception where we gave the following parliamentarians their Fellowship cartoons to celebrate the completion of their Fellowships. We asked Derek Thomas MP and Harriett Baldwin MP to reflect upon their Fellowships and what they have taken away from their experiences.
Derek Thomas MP
Derek Thomas MP has been the Member of Parliament for St Ives since 2015. For his IPT Fellowship, Derek focused on the construction skills gap piece, the difficulties this causes and what is being done to address it through training and alternative paths into the industry. Businesses Derek visited during his programme included EDF Energy, Berkeley Group and Tideway.
Why did you sign up for the IPT Fellowship Programme and how did you first hear about it?
As an MP you quickly realise that the partnerships developed by IPT with the world of business are based on a desire to build honest transparent and constructive dialogue between law-makers and those delivering the services, jobs and innovation our constituents rely on. I recognise that the skills shortages across construction present huge challenges for all corners of the UK. As I wanted to be confident that I understood the problem and the solutions, I looked to IPT to put me in touch with these partners who are already wrestling with this challenge and best placed to explain the complex nature of the construction skills shortages objectively.
What were your highlights during the IPT Fellowship Programme?
I was privileged to visit massive infrastructure projects and explore what difficulties were faced due to a lack of a big enough skilled workforce. And then privileged to visit much smaller sites and realise the workforce challenge is much the same. Despite all this, and this was the highlight, whether it was Thames Tideway or Vistry’s Morva housing development in my constituency, every effort was being made to create new tools and incentives to give workers the opportunity to train and increase their skills.
How has the IPT Fellowship Programme helped you in your role as a parliamentarian?
Knowing we have a problem is one thing but, the job of an MP is made much easier if we can meet with those who are trying to address the problems by investing in our constituents and in innovation. The Fellowship has helped me to get a greater clarity regarding how we fix workforce development challenges and promote the exciting careers available in modern construction.
Harriett Baldwin MP
Harriett Baldwin is the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire and the current chair of the Treasury Select Committee, she was elected at the 2010 General Election. Harriett decided to join the IPT Fellowship scheme in 2021 to understand how local businesses in her constituency can achieve Net Zero.
I was told about it at the start of the Parliament and thought that it could help me to gain a better understanding of how businesses in my constituency of West Worcester are achieving Net Zero.
The highlight of my programme was the visit to RWE’s Rampion Offshore Windfarm off the coast of Brighton. But I also enjoyed the visits in and around my West Worcestershire constituency, these included to Worcester Bosch, Faun Zoeller, and Triplo ESG.
I have learned a great deal about the practical challenges for my constituents in the transition to Net Zero. I can now use this knowledge to better represent them in parliament on these issues and to help them better understand the transition to Net Zero.