TWO weeks sounds like a fairly short space of time, but writing this fortnightly column always reminds me just how busy a two-week period can be.

Last Friday, I held my ninth annual Jobs & Skills Fair at Merry Hill which saw more than one thousand two hundred local people turn up to find out about and apply for the jobs and training opportunities available through more than 40 organisations I brought together for the event.

With a wide range of careers on offer, from retail positions with big-name brands such as M&S, to very different roles in engineering with firms like Bradley Environmental, there was plenty for everyone.

Last week was also my annual Volunteering Week – a week where I take the opportunity of Parliament’s conference recess to spend time back in the constituency volunteering with some of our fantastic local charities and public services.

This year, I joined other volunteers to sort donations at Brierley Hill Baby Bank who are now based in Kingswinford, spent a shift attending callouts with one of the fantastic West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic crews, joined the utterly dedicated volunteers at Russells Hall hospital to assist patients, and spent some valuable time with residents at Myles Court retirement living complex on John Street in Brierley Hill. Once again, I was in total awe of the tremendous difference these volunteers and public servants make.

Of course, the end of September also means that dozens of Macmillan coffee mornings are held right across our area to help raise funds for the fantastic cancer support work done by Macmillan. My team and I held a coffee morning at my office in Wordsley where the generosity of those who attended meant we manged to raise more than £100.

On a visit to Crestwood School on Bromley Lane, I met with students and staff to discuss a range of topics and to hear about some of the brilliant opportunities available to those who study at Crestwood.

I also had the absolute pleasure of joining Wordsley councillors and others for the community opening of the new mural planter at Wordsley Green.

The new planter, featuring handprints from people from across the community, really does look amazing and a huge congratulations goes to Carly Grandini-Williams and Sarah Cannings from Saz's Ceramics & Crafts, Cllr Kerry Lewis, Cllr Matt Rogers and The Friends of Wordsley Parks who worked so hard to make the project happen.

Finally, I was invited to help mark the 25th anniversary of Wordsley-based marketing agency, Plum Ideas. At the firm’s base at the old Stuart Works, just behind the new Stourbridge Glass Museum, I saw dozens of examples of projects the team have worked on for big-name global brands – a brilliant reminder of the true potential reach of the great creative businesses we have here in the Black Country.