Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Not the Time for Blue Sky Thinking, Help Is Needed Now; ROBIN GHURBHURAN, Deputy Principal of Newcastle College and Supporter of NE1 Ltd, on an Initiative That Aims to Tackle the Scourge of Youth Unemployment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Not the Time for Blue Sky Thinking, Help Is Needed Now; ROBIN GHURBHURAN, Deputy Principal of Newcastle College and Supporter of NE1 Ltd, on an Initiative That Aims to Tackle the Scourge of Youth Unemployment

Article excerpt

BEING top of a league table isn't always something to be strived for, or proud of - especially when the table charts the unemployment blackspots for young people in the UK.

Here in Newcastle, we are in the unenviable position of having a larger than average share of youth unemployment taking us near the top of the appalling league table that records over one million young people out of work across the country. Thankfully here in Newcastle, we also have business improvement district company NE1 actively trying to tackle the problem with its Space 2.. initiative in the heart of the city.

A youth centre operating with input and involvement from key stakeholders from education, training and businesses across the city. Although in its infancy, the centre has been warmly welcomed and has got off the ground quickly - which is what is needed to help the current generation of young people.

There's no point in 'blue sky thinking' on possible solutions for future generations - we need immediacy and rapid action to deliver for today's young people facing an uncertain economic future.

Across the country, the heart has been ripped out of cities with the loss of community centres and playing fields with nothing put in their place for young people.

Commercial units are undeniably crucial for city centre development and economic prosperity but it is furthest from the hearts and minds of young people, especially those not in training or education.

It is all too easy when faced with media headlines about disaffected youth to jump on the bandwagon of putting people down - but all this achieves is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tell a child, or a young person that they are no good and have nothing to contribute and they'll soon believe it. As a city and as region if we want a voice, and to effect change, there is little point in bleating on about our problems, we need to do something about it for ourselves.

NE1 is doing just that by creating a venue for young people reflecting the lifestyle of the diverse groups who are starting to use the centre in their hundreds.

Simply creating the physical space doesn't always deliver and that is the challenge for NE1 and its partners to spread the word about what's on offer in a non-partisan way. …

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