"Good luck to all our young people who are receiving their exam results this summer, based on teacher assessments rather than formal exams. For those who did not quite get what they hoped for, advice and support is available via the national helpline on 0800 100900. Whilst many students are thinking about Further Education or University there is a great choice of advanced level apprenticeships too. For more details on apprenticeships, you can look at www.apprenticeships.org or via www.thesource.me.uk. My thanks go to the teachers, staff and governors in our local schools for helping our young people at this critical stage of their lives as well as their parents. Sticking with the education theme, it was confirmed last week that over 40,000 UK students will be able to study and work abroad thanks to the government’s new £110m Turing Scheme. As part of the new global scheme, Canada, Japan and the United States are amongst over 150 international destinations where UK students will be funded to take up work and study placements – alongside popular European countries like Germany and France. A great opportunity for Suffolk students.
I was pleased to launch the National Disability Strategy last month with the Prime Minister and Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People. One of the key themes coming through from our listening exercise with disabled people was the feeling of isolation and lack of inclusion, especially socially. This cross-government strategy will cover many interactions but I was pleased to see that improving access to the coastal footpath is a key commitment. In the Landguard Nature Reserve in Felixstowe, there is a great boardwalk which makes it easier for people to access and an extra benefit of protecting the shingle from disruption. I look forward to more opportunities to improve access for all.
I’m also delighted to report that over 90,000 households in rural Suffolk will benefit from top-of-the-range broadband connections as part of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit investment. The work to connect these hard-to-reach properties is due to commence in February 2022 providing faster, more reliable internet connections to more residents in Suffolk Coastal.
Finally, my ongoing thanks to you all for getting the vaccination. We are well on our way to recovery and everyone who can get a jab will help us get there even quicker. We are extending the vaccine availability to 16 and 17 year olds. I hope these young people take it up too. Over 75% of adults in East Suffolk already have got their second jab."