Time to put the future in our youth

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THE youth of the Tees Valley is of paramount importance to the area’s industry, according to the man leading the area’s regeneration.

Stephen Catchpole, the managing director of regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited, hailed the younger generation as “our future.”

He spoke after TVU representatives met with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at TVU’s offices in Stockton.

The briefing included an update on TVU’s work in the boroughs including Hartlepool, as well as explaining how £500m of private sector investment had been attracted to the area in the last year alone.

Mr Catchpole said: “We are tackling skills issues to ensure that our residents and their sons and daughters, in particular, can take advantage of the jobs available.”

He said both he and Dr Sentamu agreed it was “imperative that the aspirations of children and young people in the area are raised and met through employment opportunities.”

The Archbishop used the visit to say young people were “our greatest hope and bring us such potential for an exciting future”.

Mr Catchpole said: “That is why we need to harness the talent and ability of young people in Tees Valley and demonstrate to them that there are employment opportunities within the area that can offer them successful and fulfilling careers.

“Equally, we need to make sure young people are inspired to follow the training and educational pathways that will equip them with the skills required by local businesses.”

He said TVU was “involved in a number of initiatives to help signpost those aged 14-plus in the right direction to make themselves attractive to prospective employers, including the creation of the online Tees Valley Skills Portal, which offers a wealth of advice and support.”