For many people, the work they do is one of the most important aspects of their life. A good job can provide a sense of purpose and meaning, not just a salary.
Yet people can only work if the opportunities are there – which is why one of my top priorities as an MP has been making our area a more attractive place to create jobs.
I desperately want to see more well-paid jobs in our community – especially so younger generations feel able to stay in the area where they grew up.
This isn’t just about attracting new businesses to our area, but encouraging ones already here to stay.
That’s why I was so concerned by npower’s restructuring plans announced last year, which could lead to the closure of its customer service centre at Rainton Bridge.
This was devastating for the thousands of npower staff who live locally. I know from meeting with workers that many are worried about what the future holds.
It’s vital that we get the support we need from government, which is why I’ve raised the matter in Parliament.
Ministers must pull out all the stops to support npower workers, and I’ll be meeting them soon to ensure this is the case.
The threat to thousands of local jobs is a reminder of the challenges our region has faced in the past.
Sadly, in the north east we know all too well what happens when local industries disappear.
I never want to see those days again, and government must be doing all it can to make sure we can weather these challenges in the future.
That means investment in education, skills, and infrastructure, so our young people can meet the demand for high-skill jobs.
We should improve training for people further along in working life, so they have the skills to adapt as the world of work changes.
And for those who live with ill-health or disability, we must make sure we have a fair and compassionate system that provides the right level of support. I know from my constituency casework that all too often, this isn’t the case.
Our city has so much to offer – we can once again be home to the jobs and industry of the future. Now we need the right kind of support from government, to make sure we can harness our potential once more.
Bridget’s article was first published in the Sunderland Echo