Education and skills are the foundations to a high performing economy and well paid skilled jobs, yet here in Fife we are being short changed not just in our high schools but also our college.
Questions must be asked as to why the Scottish Government is showing no appetite to resolve the long-standing funding issues of school infrastructure in Fife despite its role as a key funding partner? And why is there no progress on the delivery of a new Fife college?
At a time when the skills and employability agenda is such a priority, Fife is in danger of being left behind. With the new Falkirk College campus up and running Fife simply must have parity of esteem on this vital issue.
While the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal has a focus on skills – the investment was sadly downgraded – there still remains optimism around the positive work being done between Fife College and Edinburgh’s universities to develop learning pathways that will benefit young people in the Kingdom – but ultimately the facilities must match that ambition if we are serious about delivering highly skilled, well paid jobs that our young people will need to sustain themselves and their families in the future generations to come.
In my own constituency there are a number of schools that will be needing investment. Inverkeithing is the catchment school for part of my constituency and it has long been recognised as a priority replacement school due to its appalling condition. It will also shortly be overcrowded. There is money to fix Inverkeithing in the capital budget. I believe Fife Council cannot wait any longer for the Scottish Government and must now seize the opportunity to resolve this long-standing issue. The time to act is now.
I believe Fife Council must also push the Scottish Government to make good on their warm words with regards the replacement Dunfermline schools. And they must ensure that long standing Fife College funding is resolved – sooner rather than later.
Education is universally recognised as the route out of poverty, but with one in four children living in poverty the need to get education and skills investment right has never been more pressing.
Just this week we have another indicator of how Government and society are getting it wrong for young people. One in 12 young people are on zero hours contracts, in low skilled and insecure work. Hardly the legacy as parents and carers we would want for our children, and hardly the basis of the high skilled based economy that we need to work for the many – not the few