RacismPosted by Ayub Khan Tue, November 15, 2011 18:01:35
It’s been a long time coming but I am hoping that our judicial system is at its absolute best as it hears the case that I hope will bring closure and peace to Stephen Lawrence and his Parents.
I believe that no Parent should ever have to bury their child but in this case it happened. The death of Stephen Lawrence sparked a massive debate about racism in our country, believe me some people still share the views of his alleged killers and the recent episodes in football tell us that we can never be complacent in these matters.
As a young boy who moved from Mile End, Stepney in the East End of London to North Chingford in 1977, it was here that I first experienced racism. Walking along Station Road a grown man spat in my face and told me in no uncertain terms that I did not belong here. School was no better in that I was one of 3 young people who had a different tone of skin colour to the majority. This experience has stayed with me but I have used it in a positive way to shape the person that I am. In many ways it has made me focused, determined and ambitious to succeed.
As a society we still have a lot to do and as Parents we need to teach our young that discrimination in any form is unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, brown, gay or straight, able or disabled, male or female we should treat one another with respect.
As I have grown up society has become more tolerant of others, the ability to travel the world has become affordable to many and people are open to other cultures, there are more mixed marriages all of which are good things. However we still have a long way to go and we all have a part to play.
PoliticsPosted by Ayub Khan Mon, October 24, 2011 11:49:42
Whatever your thoughts about the man, and I certainly had no time for him at all, his end was barbaric and one that says a lot about a society in Libya that will take an absolute generation to understand that the best way of dealing with him and getting justice for all of his victims was to capture him alive and let him face the courts.
Whilst Gadhafi stated that he would die in Libya, his demise is only the beginning of what will be more deaths, tribal revenge and of course various groups positioning themselves for power.
Much has also been made by our press and of course some Conservatives/Lib Dems on the role that Blair played in getting Gadhafi to renounce his evil intentions. This was of course the right thing to do at that time. Without Blair’s intervention who knows what would have happened.
Libya is a better place without Gadhafi but the so called rebels must now put down their arms and the west has to show leadership to help the country put in place processes that allow the country to understand what democracy really means.
PoliticsPosted by Ayub Khan Mon, October 03, 2011 17:50:55
Weak data over the past month has raised concerns over the health of the UK economy. Surveys pointed to declining demand in the manufacturing and services sectors, while a sharp fall in new orders was recorded in the construction sector. Unemployment rose over the most recent quarter, and the Office for National Statistics left unchanged, at 0.2%, its initial estimate of GDP growth in Q2 2011 (compared with Q1 2011). Weak economic data in the US and eurozone economies only add to the increasingly pessimistic outlook for the UK.
All sounds very depressing and yet we hear the Chancellor George Osborne today at the Conservative Party Conference give no concrete example of how growth will be achieved, jobs created and confidence boosted.
Unless we get public sector infrastructure projects, going such as, new houses, roads and trainlines built and delivered by the private sector we are going to have to suffer the same depressing story each quarter.
World markets thrive on confidence, it’s about time our Government put the confidence back into Great Britain.
Young PeoplePosted by Ayub Khan Fri, September 16, 2011 14:21:39
The Government is introducing some changes to the way in which young people get Careers Advice. Put simply, schools will determine who should receive face to face guidance and this will be supplemented by a national telephone helpline and web site.
This got me thinking about my experience of Careers Advice. As a 16 year old leaving school in 1981, I was asked to go to Room B and meet someone who would give me advice on my career. The man behind the desk said, “What do you like doing”, I replied, “Well I like cars mucking about with cars”. This response prompted him to reach for a leaflet; he passed it to me and said. There you go son, this is information on how to become a car mechanic and with that I was ushered outside. No guidance, no challenge to my statement, no discussion. That was it. The intervention probably lasted about 2 minutes.
Life has a great sense of humour and as my career developed I have led a Connexions Service which has been responsible for delivering Careers Guidance to 13-19 year olds across six south London boroughs. Whilst there has never been a golden age of Careers Guidance Services, I can tell you that since my experience at school, Careers Guidance Services have greatly improved. A relentless approach to monitoring the quality of a service has always been at the forefront of what I do, and providers who I have contracted to deliver such services have not always appreciated why I have taken this stance. However as the Government pushes through its changes there is a real danger that some young people will not get any face to face guidance but will instead be directed to a website. This may suit some, but there is nothing better than sitting down with a qualified and competent individual and getting good solid impartial advice.
I fear that with this Governments approach avoiding any monitoring of such services from an external source that some young people will get the sort of intervention that I received, which is simply not good enough. In the debate on Careers Services which took place this week, Andy Burnham, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education asked the Government if the sort of service that they have planned would be good enough for their children. We still await the answer.
You can access a copy of the Hansard note for the debate on Careers at:
Young PeoplePosted by Ayub Khan Thu, September 08, 2011 22:32:47
Some Thoughts on Young people who are Not in Education/Employment or Training (NEET) & what good programmes look like.
The latest youth unemployment figures of just under 1m paints a very depressing but very clear picture that after so much investment we still have persistent NEET & intergenerational disadvantage which in my opinion is a growing problem. To deal with this issue what is needed is quite radical reform and moving away from the implicit belief that this is essentially the operational preserve of public sector agencies.
In opposition the Coalition parties made much of the issue of youth unemployment. But in government they have not presented clear or coherent strategy to include young people in the labour market apart from the existing apprenticeship programme and a far from clear offer of a National Citizen Service. This risks the creation of a lost generation, causing long term damage to our economy and society. A lesson learned during the 1980s is that high unemployment carries huge social cost – poorer health, higher crime and social breakdown.
Characteristics of good programmes:
As a Director of a Local Authority Shared Service commissioning programmes for young people across six diverse areas in South London, proven programmes work where we see the following characteristics:
Personalisation: Tailor the programme around the individual. Focus on their needs and have a clear understanding of the causal factors that prevent the individual from progressing.
Family support: Families/households with multiple issues should receive specific integrated multi-agency support with an employment/career dimension being a cross-cutting theme. Build on this by using role models where families, peers, neighbours have broken free from the poverty of aspiration by getting a job and contributing to society.
Labour market links: active preparation of local labour markets, individual employers and other providers to take supported risk with low-skilled, low-achievers with ‘chequered histories’ is essential to success. The message that is often cited by participants is that programmes lead nowhere/back to benefits because they do not leverage employment opportunities, can undermine fatally programmes that achieve the first two characteristics.
Sustainability: short-term statistical gains, just chasing numbers frequently conceal long-term problems, as ‘churn’ clearly demonstrates. How many times do we have the same young person presenting themselves as NEET once they have finished a programme? Solutions for NEET clients must focus on sustainability if these intergenerational cycles are to be broken. Greater emphasis on progression (in skills and income), aftercare and overcoming the ‘benefits trap’ is the solution.
Local Authorities, schools, the Community & Voluntary sector as well as the private sector need to lay down their territorial boundaries and work seamlessly to eradicate the growing numbers of NEET. Each sector has a very important role to play but those who work in Local Government will also need to provide a very different leadership and be more open to very new and radical ideas that are presented. This will be uncomfortable to those in local government who are just used to a tendering exercise.
Local Government leaders will need to be more visible in their local communities working alongside their Councillors. I cannot recall where I live, seeing my local Director of Children Services, Lead member or Chief Executive walking the borough. They would probably argue that they are far too busy, leaving such jobs for elected members, but if they truly do have the best interests of their community at the centre of what they do then they do need to be more visible.
Nationally, Labour has had a good track record of providing investment, which we know with the current government is not there. If Mr Cameron wants to truly make a difference, perhaps he may consider using the key characteristics as a test for each of his initiatives/programmes including his National Citizen Service.