Category Archives: Education

MP Pledges her Support for Engineering

Following complaints from local oil and gas companies about the lack of engineers, MP for Aberdeen South, Dame Anne Begg pledged her support to help fix the engineering skills shortage in Aberdeen, and the rest of the UK, by highlighting to young people the many exciting careers available in engineering and technology.

Dame Anne has signed up to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) pledge to support engineering in their constituency.

Dame Anne said: “Demand for engineers in the UK remains high and nowhere is it higher than in Aberdeen. Employers in Aberdeen involved in oil and gas and the supply chain often raise the shortage of engineers with me as a problem for their business and, with an ageing workforce, there is a pressing need to promote STEM to young people to develop the engineers of tomorrow.

“Further, we continue to see more women than men attending university but the level of female students studying STEM remains low.

“Having signed the IET Skills Pledge as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, I will continue to promote STEM to both boys and girls when I go into local schools.”

The motivation for the pledge comes in response to findings from the IET’s 2014 Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry survey, which indicate that 53 per cent of employers believe they should get more involved with schools, colleges and universities to help change the perception of engineering among young people.

MP Visits Home-Start Aberdeen

Anne visited Home-Start Aberdeen with her colleague Richard Baker MSP on Monday 6th October to mark Home-Start’s manifesto which was launched in Westminster in July.

Home-Start aims to support families under stress offering friendship together with emotional and practical support and the manifesto highlights the issues that Home-Start families are facing.

In Aberdeen, each year around 100 Home-Start volunteers work with approximately 200 families including over 500 children. Home-Start Aberdeen also manages the Recipe for Life project to provide practical assistance to prepare nutritious food and runs a charity chop at 101 George Street.

    Home Start Aberdeen with Anne and Richard2

During the visit, Scheme Manager Georgette Cobban spoke about the variety of families they support across the city and the many reasons why families are referred to them. She also spoke about their recent initiative to recruit 50 volunteers over 50 weeks to allow them to meet the demand for their service.

For more information about Home-Start Aberdeen, go to

The manifesto can be read in full at

Sainsbury’s Active Kids Initiative

Sainsbury's - Dame A Begg

Dame Anne was delighted to meet with Ellie Simmonds as part of Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All Inclusive PE Training programme, an initiative designed to improve the quality of PE provision for young disabled people in mainstream schools in the UK.

As part of their 2012 Paralympic Games legacy, Sainsbury’s developed Active Kids for All Inclusive PE training to give teachers the confidence and skills to provide high quality PE for all young people. Sainsbury’s will be investing £1 million over four years in Active Kids For All training courses that will ensure over 500,000 young disabled children will lead healthier and more active lifestyles.

Dame Anne said “I know what an important part many of my constituents have played in collecting Active Kids vouchers, which is helping young children understand cooking and healthy eating from a young age. With the ‘Active Kids for All’ teaching programme it’s great to see how well the scheme is developing and the important part it plays in today’s educational society. I hope schools, groups and clubs across Aberdeen have fun collecting over the next few months and I hope even more will join this great scheme”

Visit to Camphill School for Parliament Week

As part of the UK Parliament Week, Dame Anne Begg MP visited Camphill School Aberdeen, an independent charity offering day and residential education care and therapy for children and young people with additional support needs, and met with four members of the Pupil Council with whom she debated Scottish independence, democracy, elections and representation.DSC09733 (2)

Prior to this she met with members of the School’s Council of Management to hear their concerns regarding the National Framework for Residential Child Care and the ramifications that will follow from its implementation. In addition she was shown around Camphill House, where the international Camphill Movement began in 1940, and the much newer therapy centre.DSC09732 (2)

Dame Anne said:  “I have had an interesting and stimulating visit discussing my job as an MP as well as Scottish Independence and other issues of the day. The young people were a credit to the School and all that it has achieved. It was most impressive.”

Klae Russell, Pupil Council member said, “As Government is such a complex thing it was interesting to find out more about the riddle and maze that it is.”

World School Milk Day

Anne was delighted to visit Cove Bay Kindergarten to celebrate this year’s World School Milk Day.

World School Milk Day is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and it promotes the importance of drinking milk to children in a fun and educational way.Cove Bay Kindergarten 16 09 13 photo 6

Following the visit, Dame Anne said: “I am always delighted to have the opportunity to support World School Milk Day and raise awareness of the importance of the school milk scheme.

“The social and health benefits to children are extensive. As well as boosting social interaction and teaching the children to share, the scheme also ensures that children benefit from the nutritional qualities of milk aiding their physical development.

“I loved drinking milk as a child and I still do!”Cove Bay Kindergarten 16 09 13 photo 12

‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, urging him to ensure that every child is in education by 2015.

You can read Dame Anne’s letter to the Prime Minister.

Dame Anne received correspondence from Primary 5 pupils at Walker Road School and S1/S2 pupils at Kincorth Academy highlighting their disappointment that many children still have to learn in overcrowded classes as there are not enough teachers. They also enclosed drawings of their ideal teacher listing attributes such as helpful, approachable, encouraging and caring.Walker Road Tell Anne about their ideal teacher

Dame Anne said, “Every year I receive correspondence from local schools supporting the ‘Send my Friend to School’ campaign and it is heartening to see local children in Aberdeen South campaigning on behalf of other children around the world.

“I am sure that teachers will also be reassured that the pupils have given so much thought to what makes an ideal teacher.”


Send My Friend To School campaign

Read all about it – Scotland’s first easy read newspaper launched in Aberdeen

Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to attend the Scottish launch of the UK’s first easy read newspaper designed for people with learning disabilities. Inspire kindly hosted the launch at Café Coast and it was attended by some of the people they support.

Dame Anne and Linda read through the most recent edition of Easy News
Dame Anne and Linda read through the most recent edition of Easy News

Easy News is produced by disability charity United Response, and is designed to tackle the “information gap” facing many people with learning disabilities. United Response’s own research revealed that only 11% of people with learning disabilities read newspapers, usually because they are deterred by the complexity of the language. Partly as a result, just 16% of people with learning disabilities said they were interested in politics, and over half didn’t feel that politics actually had an impact on their daily lives. Easy News is designed to change that, with 58% of respondents saying that they would be interested in reading an accessible newspaper with simple language and strong visual images to help people understand.

Jaime Gill from United Response introduces Easy News
Jaime Gill from United Response introduces Easy News

Dame Anne said: “I was very impressed when I attended the launch of Easy News in the House of Commons so I was keen that it should be available in Scotland too.  I’m particularly delighted that the Scottish launch is happening in Aberdeen.

“Not having access to news in a format which you can understand can make you feel left out of what is happening in the world. I hope that as many people as possible in Aberdeen will benefit from this newspaper.”

Easy News will be produced every other month and will be available in paper, downloadable PDF and audio versions. The second edition covers the horsemeat scandal, the Oscar Pistorius court case, a new report into disability benefits, the long winter and the EU referendum, amongst other topics and you can read it here:

Maggie Law Maritime Museum

Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to officially open the Maggie Law Maritime Museum. Dame Anne, who is honorary president of the Maggie Law Maritime Museum Committee, also gave the keynote speech to an invited audience in the Gourdon Village Hall.

Dame Anne unveiled plaque
Dame Anne unveiled plaque

The project has encompassed many of Dame Anne’s interests by not only involving two local schools in developing the museum as an Education Centre but also by ensuring the museum is fully accessible by developing concepts such as the Armchair Tour. This means that anyone who has a loss or restriction of mobility can access the Heritage Trails by laptop through a video and commentary, from the comfort of the Museum, or from their own home.

Two mobility scooters have also been purchased by the Museum.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have offered their advice and support to Museum to enhance the coastal and Heritage Trail for people with their guide dogs.Dame Anne delivered the keynote speech

The new website was also launched and more information on the Museum can be accessed at

MPs welcome Aberdeen University Mooting society in annual visit to Westminster

Frank Doran, Member of Parliament for Aberdeen North and Dame Anne Begg, Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South, today hosted a visit from University of Aberdeen Mooting Society.

Aberdeen University Mooting Society
Aberdeen University Mooting Society

The visit by Aberdeen law students who are members of the Mooting Society in which students debate legal problems started with a tour of the House of Parliament, followed by a question and answer session.

The visit has now become an annual tradition.

Speaking following the visit Frank Doran said:

“It is always a pleasure to meet with the students and I can tell from the standard of their questions that we have some sharp legal minds in our midst!”

Dame Anne Begg said:

“Debating is an integral part of the work for both parliamentarians and lawyers. That’s why this annual event is always so successful.”

Aberdeen South youngsters face unemployment as price for this government’s economic failure

Young people in Aberdeen South are paying the price for this government’s economic failure as long term youth unemployment in our area continues to sky rocket

Unemployment figures released today have shown that the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) long term has increased by 500% in Aberdeen South in the past twelve months.

Commenting on today’s unemployment figures, Aberdeen South MP Dame Anne Begg said:

“Today’s unemployment figure offer no let up for young people in Aberdeen South who are still paying the price for this Government’s economic failure.

“When I was elected in 1997, the real issue was not just youth unemployment but long term youth unemployment and it is clear that this is becoming an issue again.

“It is known that the longer there is a delay in a person getting their first job, the harder it is for them to not only find work but also to find a job with promising career opportunities. Long term youth unemployment, therefore, can have a devastating impact on the life chances of an individual.

“It is also particularly concerning that we have seen an increase of 500% in the past year in Aberdeen where unemployment is low and we have an expanding economy.

“This Government has got to wake up to this crisis and take action now. It is clear that any employability help for young people needs to focus on supporting the long term unemployed into work. That’s why they should start with Labour’s Real Jobs Guarantee and get our young people back to work.”