MEP Gets Hands Dirty - Smith Begins Work Experience 2008

25 July 2008
Fresh from the Glasgow East by election, SNP MEP Alyn Smith will next week start his annual fortnight of work experience.

Since his election in 2004 Alyn has spent the first two weeks of recess on placements in a variety of trades: at sea on a trawler; as a postman; with the SSPCA; in a distillery, and even a day as a binman in Glasgow.

This year, as Scotland’s only full member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, he has adopted a themed work experience fortnight which will go from “field to fork” exploring the critical infrastructure around the Agricultural sector. He will start this coming Monday at 6am for the morning shift at an abattoir in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire; move on to be a trainee vet in Shetland; work at a food co-operative in Glasgow; try his hand as an apprentice butcher in Edinburgh; then a junior stockman with an animal artificial insemination lab in Dumfries; a farmhand on a farm in the borders; and then a biodiesel plant worker in Motherwell.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Mr Smith said:

"I’m massively looking forward to work experience this year, even if I will need a couple of early nights after Glasgow East!

“You can only get a real grasp on the issues and difficulties that are faced by others if you get out there and join them. I am the only Scots politician to undertake this sort of venture, but I do find it valuable to get more of a feel for issues than I could ever get from briefings.

"I am sure that this year will prove to be as positive and memorable as every other year. Starting off at 6am on Monday morning in an Aberdeen abattoir has to count as one of my more unusual mornings, but I have dug out my wellies and dusted off my overalls and am eager to get started. I think it is safe to say that there cannot be many members of the European Parliament, or any other parliament for that matter, that can say they have turned their hands to beef boning and salting hides. Never let it be said I don’t get my hands dirty!

"However, on a more serious note, I hope that my work over the next two weeks will showcase just a few of the difficulties that are facing Scotland’s agricultural sector at the moment. Whether it is shortage of manpower, a decline in skills training, excessive red tape or simply a lack of investment, I hope to come out of these experiences with not only a better understanding of the problems but hopefully some practical solutions to them too."