It was a pleasure to meet local Apprentice Bricklayer, Bryden Gillies, yesterday who received a commendation at this year’s Young Builder of the Year Awards.

Bryden is showing the talent local young people have and is doing local communities proud! Well done, Bryden!



First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today outlined the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government demonstrating that the SNP is delivering for Scotland. The Programme included:

👪 The early introduction of the Best Start Grant – one of Scotland’s new Social Security payments – to support parents on low incomes which will be ready by Christmas 2019;
🏥 £20m in this Parliament to tackle issues associated with the use of illicit drugs to reduce harm and stop the rising number of drug deaths.
🗣️ Continuing to support mental health, with a 24/7 crisis support service for children and young people and their families;
🤰 Investing £5 million in a community mental health service for pregnant women and new mothers across Scotland;
🚌 Over £500m investment in bus prioritisation;
🤵👰 Men and women will be able to have civil partnerships rather than marriage in Scotland;
👦 The introduction of Disability Assistance for Children and Young People by summer 2020.

There is also progress on existing targets. By this time next year:
👶 80,000 families will be benefiting from more than 1000 hours of free childcare a year;
👩‍🔧 We will have delivered 30,000 modern apprenticeship starts;
🏘️ We will be even further on the way to delivering 50,000 affordable homes.


This Week #46

6th – 12th March 2017

There were a number of meetings and briefings for Marion to attend at Westminster on Tuesday, as the Motherwell and Wishaw MP had a busy day of parliamentary business.

Prime Minister’s Questions followed the weekly meeting of the Education Select Committee on Wednesday, before Marion participated in the Westminster Hall debate on financial support for apprentices:

In this case, there is a lot to be learnt because of the positive way forward and how the Scottish Government understand and realise the necessity of training a highly skilled workforce to move us forward with lots of economic opportunity. We have a different agenda—I will not go into that now—but it is important for economic growth that every country looks at how it best trains and prepares.

As a former further education lecturer, I understand only too well the difficulties young people have when they are in any kind of education, and how important it is that they are properly resourced. It is also true in Scotland that apprentices do not fare quite as well as others. Although the rates are higher, they have the same issues and do not qualify for some things—again, that is a DWP issue to do with child benefit and so on. I would like the Minister to look at that because it is important.

I am the product of an academic route, as are many people in this room. I know the academic route does not suit everyone, and even if someone goes down the academic route, it does not always guarantee them a job. In Scotland we have the graduate apprenticeship scheme, which is proving really useful because it gives people real, hands-on experience and makes them much more employable. The whole idea of apprentices being cheap labour, serving their time and then being paid off has to end.

Marion’s full contribution can be found here.

Marion had another day of parliamentary business in London on Thursday, with her constituency office staff also attending the fantastic first session of Newarthill Library’s Storytime and Song project.

Friday saw Marion back home in the constituency, working from her office in the Dalziel Building in Motherwell.


This Week #34

31st October – 6th November 2016



On Tuesday, Marion was busy with parliamentary duties before participating in the Westminster Hall debate on Apprenticeships Funding (above), providing an excellent speech:

It is very important that Scotland’s share of the funding is used to support the delivery of the 30,000 modern apprenticeships by 2020 that the Scottish Government have mentioned. We have been working hard with employers and have had consultations. We have introduced new types of apprenticeships—a foundation apprenticeship and graduate apprenticeships—because apprenticeships should not be one size fits all. Yes, they should be for school leavers, and yes they should be for older people, but they should also be for graduates and young people still at school. That ties into the idea of careers, and of helping young people into careers in which they will be able to find work for many years to come, which would benefit the economy.



Despite feeling under the weather, Marion was still working hard in London on Thursday, before travelling back home ahead of a busy couple of days of surgeries.


On Friday, Marion was back in the constituency, holding her monthly surgery in the Dalziel Building in the morning. This surgery is an ideal way to seek assistance from your MP and it is almost always fully booked, for more information check out the Surgeries page.


Following the morning surgery, Marion was keen to highlight National Befriending Week by joining the Community Champions of Befriend Motherwell at St Andrew’s Church to celebrate their 5th birthday. The MP was also on hand to sign the pledge to tackle loneliness in Scotland


Saturday saw the Motherwell and Wishaw MP attend her surgery at Wishaw Library, in order to discuss issues with local people and provide what support she can. Unlike the surgery of the previous day, Marion’s monthly Wishaw Library surgery is a “drop in”, meaning constituents can turn up without an appointment. Again, for more information, check out the Surgeries page.


Apprenticeships Debate

Today I spoke in a debate on Apprenticeships. As a former lecturer in Further Education, this is an issue very close to me. In Scotland, we have an extremely effective and comprehensive programme which I believe the rest of the UK could learn from.

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