Back Le Bid!
The Tour de France often starts with its opening stage, ‘Le Grand Départ’, being held in another European country. I am backing the campaign forYorkshireto host ‘Le Grand Départ’ in 2016.
As a keen cyclist and a proud Yorkshirewoman, I would be delighted if the Tour de France passed throughYorkshire. The steep hills and bracing conditions of the Yorkshire Moors would make a beautiful backdrop for the tour and provide challenges for the riders. Additionally, the tour has the potential to do great things for the local economy as many tour fans would come to visit Yorkshire to watch the race and TV coverage of the Tour would beamYorkshireinto the homes of the many million TV viewers, some of whom may then be persuaded to visit our region.
Yorkshire has a long history with the Tour de France as the region had generated more stage winners than any other region in England. These stage winners include Brian Robinson from Huddersfield who was the first British winner of a Tour de France stage in 1958, and Barry Hoban from Wakefieldwho won eight stages between 1967 & 1975. Both Brian and Barry are naturally backing the Yorkshire bid to host the opening stage in 2016, as are current leading British cyclists Mark Cavendish, whose mother comes from Yorkshire, and Ben Swift who hails from Rotherham.
If you would like to see the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de France, please sign up to “Back Le Bid” as I did.
Lifelong Learning in Yorkshire and Europe
I am passionate that people inYorkshireof all ages should take the European opportunities available through the European Commission Lifelong Learning initiative. For theUKto be competitive in Europeand globally, it is essential that it has a well-educated mobile, flexible and motivated work force and society. To support this, the EU-funded Lifelong Learning Programme, offer individuals at all stages of their lives the chance to pursue interesting opportunities for learning acrossEurope. I have first hand experience of studying and working abroad, which not only developed my knowledge and skills, but also broadened my horizons. This is why I am so enthusiastic about encouraging people to take advantage of the opportunities for European wide learning exchanges available to them.
There are numerous programmes available to learners in higher education, vocational education and adult education, including:
- The Erasmus programme and Erasmus Mundus programme, which support student exchanges in higher education, as well as cooperation between universities and colleges, etc.
- The Leonardo da Vinci programme, supporting initial and continuing vocational education and training (including student and apprentice exchanges, cooperation between colleges, etc.)
- The Grundtvig programme, supporting activities in the field of adult education
Yorkshire could do more to benefit from these schemes. Students and adult learners alike should be better informed about the opportunities that are available to them in Yorkshire and acrossEurope. Alongside this, universities and colleges not already active in this area should be made aware of the links they can make with businesses across Europe, which can allow their students to benefit from on-the-job training with some of Europe`s leading firms .
Over the next few months, I will be undertaking activities to raise awareness of the various European learning exchange programmes that are open to people in Yorkshire and theHumber. For now, if you would like more information about how you or your institution can get involved then please get in touch with my office, or visit the European Commission Lifelong Learning website below
Working for SMEs in Yorkshire
I am proud of our region’s history of entrepreneurship and large presence of successful Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). As an MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, I always look for opportunities to speak with local entrepreneurs about the world class business opportunities available to them in our region, and the opportunities for them acrossEuropemade possible by the EU.
We have already had great news that Yorkshire is at the forefront of a renewable energy revolution in theUK; our region topped theUKrenewable investment league for the last year, with investment of almost two billion pounds in renewable energy projects, subsequently creating over 5,400 jobs in the process.
SMEs are the lifeblood of the British Economy. The UK Government has already announced numerous Enterprise Zones across our region including in Sheffield and the Humber, offering attractive incentives to bring business toYorkshire. By investing in SMEs, we can generate sustainable growth and long-term employment; bringing prosperity to the region.
In Parliament, I work with my Liberal colleagues on the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) SME Taskforce, which looks at practical steps we can take when developing EU legislation to make sure SMEs are not inappropriately burdened and to encourage SME growth acrossEurope. The following link has more information on our SME-friendly policies.