WITH the General Election nearly upon us, students at SGS College got the chance to quiz Stroud’s parliamentary candidates.

David Drew, Siobhan Baillie and Molly Scott Cato all took part in a hustings event at the college.

Questions on everything from concerns over the NHS, the welfare system and student loans were asked by SGS College students and staff.

Not only was it a chance for the candidates to try and gain support from young voters, but it gave the students at the college an opportunity to engage with politicians on matters that concern them the most.

Ashton Aitkin, an SGS business student, said the event had a big impact on him.

“I found the opportunity to speak to the candidates inspiring and this has now motivated me to want to take an active role in politics and the local community,” he said.

Ian Scrannage, lecturer at SGS Stroud and chair of the hustings event said: “I found the event moving and positive, the students were respectful and not afraid to ask difficult question on such topics as jobs, healthcare and education.

"I am proud to have seen so many students becoming pro-active in shaping their future.

"They seized the opportunity to hold the candidates to account whilst demonstrating the democratic advantages of an energetic debate.

"And they have reminded us all how a mature political debate should be constructed.”

Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS College principal commented: “Ensuring that every young person understands the democratic process and knows their right to freedom of speech and to express their views, is a key component of the college’s duty to embed British values into our curriculum.

“I was so impressed with the contribution and questions from our learners to the candidates and everyone involved really valued the opportunity to question the candidates on the issues that most concerns them.”

The hustings follows on from SGS Stroud’s push to encourage its students to register to vote.