Today the MP for Bassetlaw John Mann tweeted “Youth unemployment over 1,000 in Bassetlaw today. Much higher than other age groups.”. I challenged both John Mann and local councillor Alan Rhodes sometime ago to think long term and highlighted the desperate need for ensuring the delivery of digital creativity (specifically programming) in local schools.
Though I received positive replies in the first instance, since then I have had no confirmation of any action from both parties. What I have had is two pamphlets through my door from Councillor Rhodes proclaiming that Labour’s “top priority” if they won control of the county council would be “Jobs, Skills and Training”. There’s even a lovely photograph of Mr Mann and Mr Rhodes on the back of said leaflet. I’d have preferred the printing and distribution costs being spent on local Code Clubs then I might have voted for them. Actions speak louder than words.
Over a month ago I had the county council’s newspaper through the door promising “a new strategy to help more young people into work”.
These kids deserve proper jobs, proper prospects and a proper education.
I appreciate that Bassetlaw, Worksop and the surrounding areas has economic difficulties from its former reliance on declining industries. But this is the point. If a certain industry is in decline then you must look to those industries that aren’t – and this is where campaigns like Next Gen show where the jobs of today and tomorrow are going to be.
John Mann should be campaigning for a three pronged attack on youth (and adult) unemployment in the area, echoing Labours apparent “Job, Skills and Training” propaganda:
1) Ensure that all local primary and secondary schools are teaching digital literacies and effective STEAM subjects from Y1.
2) Ensure that the county and local councils are doing everything that they can to encourage and nurture business and entrepreneurship, including revamping tired, dirty and uninviting town centres.
3) For those out of work, ensure that effective and free training and further education is available in desirable subjects and skill sectors.
These changes would stop children coming out of school that are unemployable. They would raise aspiration so that kids aim high and have confidence in themselves that they will have skills of value to an employer, push onto University, or have ambition enough to start their own business.
Workshop has North Nottinghamshire College within its borders and a good array of libraries including a brand-new town-centre build. Unfortunately the village libraries hardly open, hardly run any kind of meaningful education and are very poorly stocked (try and find anything on digital creativity amongst the shelves – even in the 21st century town-centre building) but all of these could be addressed very quickly.
Unfortunately it seems that the views of a lowly resident and tax payer in the area have been largely ignored. I suspect the quick response initially was to tick the right boxes in the constituency and council offices. So with that in mind I am going to write back to both and also to Theo Blackwell MP (of the Next Gen campaign) to ask for his support. I hope that the views and nudge from one of Labour’s own might be able to carry more weight than someone who pays their wages.