Just a bit of a backstory on how I got involved with NUS (National Union of Students)…
Back in 2014 I was an apprentice, I didn’t know about NUS other than if you bought a student card from them you got free cheeseburgers. I got an email from my assessor saying that NUS had an event on the following day in Bristol for apprentices and if I’d like to attend. Of course I went. Anything to get a day off work.
At the end of the workshop I was elected onto the leadership team for the NSoA (National Society of Apprentices) and I have worked a lot with them ever since. It helped me massively develop as a person and made me realise that I could make a difference in the world.
Fast forward to April 2016. I stood on the stage at NUS National Conference in Brighton, delivered a speech and got elected onto NUS NEC. I’ve been going to the meetings as much as I possibly can.
I was an apprentice when I stood for that election, however soon after, I changed jobs. Conference is here now and I’m not there. There are 2 apprentices on NUS NEC and neither of us are actually at NUS National Conference. Why? Because we have to take holiday or get authorisation from superiors before we can go to these events.
I am very lucky that the NSoA will still be there to represent me and apprentices across the nations but I am devastated that I will not be there as this was meant to be my last NUS National Conference and was also going to be a time that I could use to say good bye to some very good friends I’ve made over the years through the NSoA, NUS and NUS NEC.
As I can’t be there to say good bye, I guess this is just temporary and I hope to see you all in the near future.
I want to wish the best of luck to my friends that are running for elections this year.
Shakira Martin is running for NUS PRESIDENT.
Emily Chapman is running for NUS VP FURTHER EDUCATION.
Matt Grange is running for NUS VP UNION DEVELOPMENT.
Robbie Young is running for VP SOCIETY AND CITIZENSHIP.
Izzy Lenga is running for VP WELFARE.
There are candidates also running for VP HIGHER EDUCATION, but as I’ve never really been in higher education I don’t have much of an opinion on this.
I do not want these people to win because they are my friends. I want them to win because I whole heartedly believe that they are the right people to do the job. I have complete faith in all of them.
Now, me not being at NUS National Conference isn’t a one off in the apprentice world. This happens at every event. There is always someone who can’t attend. There are thousands of apprentices that don’t even know the NSoA exists to support them and to fight for their rights. This needs to change.
I ask you all one thing. Please share this and if you know an apprentice, whether it be friends, family or just someone you met at an event, please please fight for them.
As I said in my speech last year: JUST BECAUSE I’M AN APPRENTICE, IT DOESN’T MEAN MY EDUCATION MATTERS ANY LESS!
To those of you that have made it this far down, thank you for reading.
For those of you at NUS National Conference, enjoy you’re time at the event, enjoy not having time to eat or sleep, and most of all enjoy the campaign parties.
Stay safe and see you all soon.