Five minutes with David Lammy, MP

10 March 2017

At our annual Apprenticeship Awards held at the Houses of Parliament this week, we talked with keynote speaker, and the man who brought Britain both the National Apprenticeship Service and introduced National Apprenticeship Week, David Lammy MP, to discuss the current issues facing young people today and what we need to do to address these.

What do you see as the biggest barriers to building successful lives faced by young people in Britain today?

There are big regional differences in Britain; obviously if you grow up middle-class here in London, there aren’t many barriers but I think if you are in the North East or North West of Britain, you can be a long way from jobs. And I think if your parents haven’t gone to university, to Russell Group universities, and in terms of the modern economy, the confidence to get a job, the networks that you need sometimes to get a job, are huge barriers to young people today.

Do you think these issues are getting worse or starting to get better?

I actually think the prospect of Brexit could make them substantially worse but at least we’re having the conversation about social mobility, we’re having a conversation about what it would mean if we are to take back control and not see the immigration that we've previously been seeing in our country over the coming months and years.

How might organisations (government, NGOs, employers) better co-operate to help the next generation thrive?

My experience of young people from working backgrounds is they need the networks, support, confidence and mentoring as they step into employment. There are profound issues on homelessness still in our country – you know we take this presumption that many young people are growing up with parents but there are many growing up without those parents to support them and Central YMCA can be really, really important in that context.