Recent news that around a million people have ‘fallen off’ the electoral register in this country should worry those who realise what an important part the next generation will inevitably play in this country’s growth.
It seems that a change in the rules which means that neither mum and dad nor university or college halls of residence can register teenagers on their behalf – as they could until this year – has seen a dramatic fall in the number of those who have signed up to cast their vote.
With a general election on the horizon – and much at stake – the democratic process needs an input from every sector of society, and those who are just setting out on life’s journey need to be encouraged to put their cross in whichever box they choose. Elected politicians influence everything from the economic climate in which our young people will make their fortune – if they are lucky or talented enough – to the education that will be available for their children and the pension they will eventually draw. This edition highlights many of the issues influenced by government, not least the rise in apprenticeships, surely a good thing at a time when we are starting to realise how pointless it is to send so many of our school leavers to second rate former colleges for unhelpful degrees in meaningless subjects.
Surrey County Council has already helped 1,500 young people into apprenticeships, young people who might otherwise have been claiming benefit or marking time at university racking up a huge debt in return for a qualification that may or may not have helped them find work.
Education is another big issue for government; in recent years it has often been touted as the only issue, although that mantle seems now to belong to the economy. As this edition of South East Business points out, one of the areas that needs to be tackled by the incoming (presumably coalition) government is science teaching in primary schools, currently poor according to the CBI.
Our own science parks are thriving, creating jobs and doing their bit to inspire youngsters – as are Big Bang events all over the region (see page 12) – but the lack of a focus on science teaching in primary schools is making their jobs much harder.
The fact that it is young people with drive, business flair and a commitment to hard work who will continue the growth that now seems to be a reality here in the UK is highlighted in this month’s The Boss feature. Read how Julianne Ponan took over a struggling company and turned a £56,000 loss into a healthy profit – at the age of 22 – on pages 36 and 37.