So many city school leavers will spend years out of work – a breeding ground for medicated despair and anti-social or even criminal activity. Teens clearsighted enough to observe this pre-empt the process and drop out of school early, seeing no point in preparing for a ‘career’ which will never be offered to them.
Councillor John Clancy’s school breakfast proposal begins to address one aspect of neglect, not confined to inner city areas – a Harborne teacher has spoken feelingly of the various forms of deprivations suffered by children of ‘high-flying’ parents there who are not always well cared for by employees.
Another of our few thoughtful media presences, Professor David Bailey, makes the development of skills one of his four goals.
However there is a problem of motivation, due in part to the creation of an ambience where much of the media is geared to selling junk food and the latest fashion in goods and clothing, focussing on the lives of pop stars and sports personalities.
This will not be changed overnight, if at all, so people from our small and medium enterprises are needed to offer more by visiting schools and telling their stories to pupils when still receptive – no older than nine years – then offering follow up visits to their workplaces.
Why SMEs? Because, as shown on the sites of WM Producers and (covering the whole region) Made in the Midlands, most of these are long established companies, not here for a few years then moving on or being taken over like many of our larger firms.
Typical of such schools’ ambassadors would be Aston resident Kirsty Davies-Chinnock and perhaps an apprentice from the family owned Smethwick company of which she is CEO. This firm resisted the option of increasing profits by outsourcing to a cheaper workforce abroad because they cared for their employees and their families.
Such people would inspire children at an early age, changing the whole pattern of their lives – and that of the local economy.
Source: a former city teacher, currently visiting family in Japan, where the unemployment rate for many years has been just over 4% and all children have some hope for the future.