Insights from the UK and beyond
Interesting to read today of a plan by The Co-operative Group to create more apprenticeships. With public funding for so many areas under threat in Britain’s austerity drive – including skills and education – what will others in the private sector do to ensure Britain has the workforce it needs to compete in the 21st century?
The Co-Op’s plan – which includes a promise to create 2,000 new co-operative apprenticeships, as well as investments in areas such as schooling – is also interesting for the approach it takes to young people.
At an event earlier this month, Steve Bell, Head of Policy for the Communications Workers Union, warned a conference I attended that future tension over austerity cuts “wouldn’t necessarily come from the trade unions” and pointed to the youth riots of the 1980s as a potential indication of what might happen in the UK when public spending cuts start to bite.
The Co-operative, perhaps aware of the potential problems that could be posed by a disaffected ‘lost generation’, is investing 2 million pounds in a programme called Truth About Youth – to challenge what it calls the widespread negative perception of young people.
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authorβs alone. Sughra Ahmed is a Research Fellow at the Policy Research Centre, which is based at the Islamic Foundation in Leicestershire and specialises in research, policy advice and training on issues related to British Muslims.
By Sughra Ahmed
It may seem well and good to think children should be seen and not heard - there's nothing wrong with a touch of Victorian, especially true during a good movie! But what if the censored are not young children at all? What if they are flashpoints in our conversations on not so trivial subjects, you know, things like national security, integration and democracy. And what if, instead of listening, we systematically speak on their behalf, saying what they are thinking and how they fit into the whole social and political spectrum.