IN response to the article (The Yorkshire Post, January 21) outlining the need to tackle the Yorkshire skills crisis and regional inequalities, I would agree with the sentiment that more needs to be done to facilitate social mobility in Yorkshire and the North – and would emphasise that the key to achieving it is through education.
Today, two-thirds of employers say school leavers don’t have the necessary skills for the workplace. So the UK as a whole is facing a skills crisis. But there is a particular challenge facing the North of England when it comes to social mobility. The Social Mobility Commission’s barometer reveals that under 50 per cent of people in Yorkshire and the Humber think that there are good opportunities to make progress – compared to 78 per cent in London.
It is vitally important that we offer our young people – from all backgrounds and from all of our regions – the education they need to succeed and thrive. This must go beyond traditional academic education, and must include financial and enterprise education.
In my work at Young Enterprise, I have seen the impact that providing a comprehensive financial and enterprise education has on the confidence and aspirations of young people from all over the country, and from all backgrounds. Giving young people the financial skills they need to avoid falling into debts or financial scams in today’s increasingly contactless world, is more important than ever, and we owe it to all young people to prepare them equally for success.
And enterprise education is equally important. By encouraging business skills, we can help young people prepare for the future, whether that’s securing a job locally or further afield, and realise their potential and increase their confidence. For young people from more disadvantaged areas, this can be particularly impactful.
Considering the Social Mobility Commission barometer’s findings that under half of people in Yorkshire and the Humber think there are good opportunities to make progress, helping young people realise their potential and see their future as bright is more important than ever.
Greater emphasis on enterprise and finance skills will give young people the confidence and opportunity to succeed. This is an issue of social mobility, and we must do all we can as parents, educators and communities to make sure all young people are prepared for success.