Action needed if young people are to prosper

Congratulations to all the young people across Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton who’ve had their A-level and GCSE results this month.

After months of suspense, it can be a stressful time for parents, teachers and of course students themselves. I visit our local schools and colleges whenever I can and it’s always great to hear about local students’ plans for the future. Now, like hundreds of young people across our area, they will be making important decisions about what to do next.

Whether they decide to go on to do further studies, college courses, university or head out into the world of work or into an apprenticeship, thankfully help and advice is close at hand thanks to our great local schools and colleges. But much more still needs to be done to ensure there are opportunities for young people to get them into jobs and training so they can get on and do well.

After all their efforts, I hope everyone can now celebrate their achievements. Young people who have worked so hard for their exams deserve the chances to get on and do well. But like many other local people, I am worried about whether the next generation have the chances to do better than the last.

Young people have been devalued and discriminated against by this government – not least by having their entitlement to housing benefit removed and university tuition fees increased. It is time to end this discrimination, to ease the burden on young people, and show them that they are valued members of our society.

With the number of young people out of work for over a year still way too high, wages still stagnant and high rents preventing young people from leaving the family home or getting on the housing ladder, we need to make sure there are enough of the right opportunities for our young people to get the education, training, jobs and other opportunities to get on and do well.

We need a strong industrial strategy to create good jobs and training programmes and boost investment, growth and employment.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be keeping up the pressure to get young people a better deal. We need strong action now to prevent a whole generation of young people falling behind.

Originally published in the Dewsbury Reporter and The Press