YP Comment: Gearing up for life's challenges

IT would be remiss not to under-estimate the resilience of young people.

The transition from school to university is proving challenging for some students.

Their work ethic, and willingness to learn and embrace wider changes in both technology and society, is invariably second to none. Yet, as a new intake of under-graduates start at Yorkshire’s universities, it’s also important that people are sensitive to the fears that many are forced to confront.

Compared to the post-war generation who were just thankful to be alive, there are far more opportunities today. Equally there’s a far more indebtedness in society – the so-called ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ can only go so far – and home ownership is just a faltering dream for many potential first-time buyers. Understandably this is adding to the anxiety of those graduates and 20-somethings who are struggling to lead the independent lives that they cherish because of burdensome financial pressures.

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These concerns do need to be taken seriously, it would be heartless to tell a young person to pull themselves together, and dismiss their concerns, especially if they suffer from low self-esteem.

However it is even more important that the school careers service is far more effective than at present. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that some students are being persuaded to go to university – and compound their personal debt – when there is a little prospect of a meaningful job at the end of their studies. For some, an apprenticeship might be a far better option – and leave the beneficiaries far better placed to not only lead more fulfilling lives but withstand the day-to-day challenges which can be so taxing at the best of times. At a time when skills has never been more important, the Government should, at the very least, be making sure that teenagers have access to the very best careers advice as part of its Brexit blueprint. It’s the very least that Ministers can do.

A Nobel mission

NEARLY 100 days after Jo Cox was killed in her Batley & Spen constituency, her memory – and legacy – endures through the many causes that she supported during her all-too-brief political career, not least the work of the White Helmets in war-torn Syria.

The great sadness is the work of these extraordinary volunteers is only now being truly appreciated after tens of humanitarian air workers were killed this week by airstrikes as a fragile ceasefire came to a predictably bloody end. It is estimated that these selfless volunteers have helped save 60,000 lives alone.

As was so often the case, Mrs Cox was ahead of her time. She nominated the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize in February this year and now, in the wake of the latest outrages, her grieving family, friends and colleagues have chosen to make this public. Like the watching world, they feel powerless and find themselves asking what Jo would have done if she was still alive.

Not only would she have been galvanising support for the White Helmets and supporting their appeal for rescue equipment to assist their work pulling the injured out of the remains of bombed buildings, but she would have been chivvying politicians around the world to create – and enforce – no-fly zones which would, at the very least, have provided a safe haven of sorts for displaced Syrian refugees.

As such, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has an opportunity next month to not only honour those aid agencies whose staff dodge bullets and bombs on a daily basis, but also put pressure on international leaders to do more in the pursuit of peace while also acknowledging the importance of Parliamentarians around the world like Jo Cox who are the bedrock of any democracy. It should not hesitate to do so.

Zero tolerance

WEEKS after an inebriated Joshua Strickland, from York, was jailed for six months for being abusive towards Jet2 cabin crew staff, the Leeds-based airline has signalled its zero tolerance for such behaviour by banning a further six passengers for drunken behaviour.

It can only be hoped that other airlines follow suit – public safety demands nothing less. Yet it could be argued that the company’s draconianism does not go far enough – three travellers have been banned for a year while Jet2 has said it will not fly home their three companions from the holiday island of Tenerife.

If air rage is to be tackled, there’s a strong case to be made for miscreants being banned from all flights – and the passports of offenders being invalidated for far longer than 12 months.