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Grantham MP Gareth Davies discusses the key role of reservists in his latest column

Column by Gareth Davies, MP for Grantham and Stamford

Earlier this week, the Health Secretary announced that step four of the roadmap out of restrictions is set to go ahead on Monday.

I know that for many people this day has been long-awaited as people can reunite with groups of friends and family, host weddings with an unlimited number of guests, and hospitality businesses can operate without a cap.

MP Gareth Davies at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks
MP Gareth Davies at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks

All this has been possible thanks to the fantastic work of the NHS, the Armed Forces and anybody who has aided the vaccine effort as 88 per cent of all adults have now had one jab and 64 per cent have received both doses.

One man who certainly appreciated the challenges of working from home was Isaac Newton as I learned during my visit to Woolsthorpe Manor, his family home which is now cared for by the National Trust in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth.

During the Great Plague 350 years ago Newton left his studies at Cambridge to return to the healthier Lincolnshire air.

At Woolsthorpe he accomplished his best-known work on calculus and optics, scribbling notes in charcoal on his bedroom walls and also experiencing the famed eureka moment as an apple fell from a tree in the orchard.

It was a great experience to be shown around the Manor grounds and hear about the work the National Trust is doing to develop it into an interactive space where visitors of all ages can exercise their scientific curiosities.

It was also a privilege to visit the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks to meet with service personnel. As the headquarters of 2 Operational Support Group, Royal Logistics Corps, Grantham played a key role in the development of the mobile testing programme last year as the mobile test centres were assembled at the barracks and staffed by medically trained reservists.

It was great to hear reservists talk about their commitment to the role despite the challenges the pandemic has posed for their training. A new digital learning environment has been launched recently allowing the reservists to attend training sessions and access materials at home or the workplace as they balance day jobs with a commitment to service.

Education was also the order of the day as I met with Paul Deane, principal of Grantham College to look around their facilities and discuss the critical importance of further education in providing training and skills to prepare young people for the world of work. The college now offers the new T-Levels, qualifications equivalent to three A-levels across a variety of subjects which work in partnership with industry to provide every student with workplace experience as a key part of the course, enabling them to develop skills for the whole of their working lives.

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