May 28, 2012
Catherine Brentnall explains how Rotherham is developing an enterprising spirit among young people
If people know anything about Rotherham it tends to be that it has suffered massively from industrial decline and high unemployment. What most people don’t know is that we are actually world leaders in terms of doing something about the issues we face.
Like many northern towns, Rotherham experienced dire consequences when the coal and steel industries collapsed during the 1980s. As the jobs went, the town’s confidence did too – high unemployment and low aspiration are two bitter legacies that have persisted.
The physical regeneration of Rotherham got underway in 2001 and the town has benefited from new business parks, apartments and a town centre facelift. But regeneration is about more than new buildings – it’s about hearts and minds – and local businesses were raising concerns that young people still weren’t ‘work ready’, and there was a sense that people weren’t connecting to the new opportunities that were available.
There are 43,501 young people on the education roll in Rotherham – they represent the future and are the untapped potential that need to be inspired, equipped and ready to create new businesses, jobs and industries in the town. We launched Rotherham Ready in 2005 to impact on young people, and equip them with the mindset and skills to take on their future with confidence and contribute to a dynamic and thriving economy in Rotherham.