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‘Bristol’s mixed economy has a lot to offer its young people’ – Shadow Minister launches Bristol School-Business Forum

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With the Avonmouth and Filton Enterprise Zones aiming to create over 14,000 jobs in areas such as logistics, manufacturing and engineering, Bristol’s young people have immense opportunities on their doorstep, as long as the right skills, knowledge and enthusiasm are created and supported. Ensuring there is a workforce ready for work in the years to come requires contribution from schools, colleges, politicians and also local business.

 

With the Avonmouth and Filton Enterprise Zones aiming to create over 14,000 jobs in areas such as logistics, manufacturing and engineering, Bristol’s young people have immense opportunities on their doorstep, as long as the right skills, knowledge and enthusiasm are created and supported. Ensuring there is a workforce ready for work in the years to come requires contribution from schools, colleges, politicians and also local business.

 

Shadow Treasury Minister Chris Leslie was in Bristol on Thursday to launch The Bristol Schools-Business Forum (BSBF), a group set up to ensure the city’s education sector is linked directly with Bristol business. Founded by Darren Jones, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West, the group is made up of representatives from some of Bristol’s leading firms, teachers, parents and careers advisers. The Forum will be meeting twice yearly to facilitate an ongoing conversation between educators, employers and support organisations in an attempt to bridge the skills gap and generate local jobs for young people in Bristol.

 

Speaking after the launch, Chris Leslie MP, Shadow Treasury Minister said:

 

“Bristol’s mixed economy, from the port company and the likes of Airbus, to professional services, to SMEs, provides a rich picking for the city’s youngsters when they leave school or college. But more needs to be done to ensure young people are leaving school equipped with the right skills, knowledge, and aspiration to pursue these paths.

 

“Key to that is adopting a two-pronged approach; not just inspiring our children and their parents, but looking to business to get involved too.

 

“One of the primary concerns to come out of the inaugural meeting of the BSBF was the need for schools to develop pupils’ confidence and practical skills alongside the pursuit of academic merit. Business and education need to work hand-in-hand to help young people seize the opportunities Bristol presents for them.”

 

Darren Jones, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West and founder of the BSBF said:

 

“Bridging the gap between school and work is a crucial part of tackling youth unemployment and ensuring there are local opportunities for Bristol’s young people when they leave school. When I left what is now Oasis Academy Brightstowe I was one of less than 20% in my year to gain five GCSEs at the A* to C range including English and Maths. The Council estates of Lawrence Weston – where I grew up – continually get referenced as one of the most deprived communities in England for education, training and skills. I worked hard and was lucky to get through university and to qualify as a lawyer but my individual success allows me to understand how much more we have to do to realise the talents of all of our young people.

 

“The enthusiasm with which business here has greeted the Bristol Schools Business Forum adds weight to its aim – transforming vocational and technical education is not just about social mobility, it is a matter of absolute economic urgency.”

 

Darren added: “Business must be at the heart of providing more high quality training and skills. As a city we are a global hub for technology, engineering and the creative industries – I want our young people to benefit directly from that.”

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