Transport and proper guidance vital to tackling poverty in South Tyneside, meeting hears

Councillors have highlighted the importance of schools providing career advice, and transport being accessible and affordable, in order to help tackle poverty in South Tyneside.

By Nic Marko
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 3:15 pm

Council chiefs as part of their commission on poverty looked at the importance of skills strategies being in place, and raising aspirations in the region.

The people select committee on Tuesday reviewed findings of a council panel’s commission on skills, to see if any further recommendations could be made in the context of tackling poverty.

Calls were made for steps to be in place to help ensure schools have suitable careers services, while it was highlighted transport must be made accessible and affordable to reach training and careers opportunities.

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South Shields Town Hall.

Councillors on the committee therefore supported making two recommendations on these issues as part of their poverty commission.

Cllr John McCabe, chair of the people select committee, noted young people need to have support in schools to get the “the best opportunities”, adding many people do not know what they want to be until later in life.

He said: “Education is fundamental for everybody in society and everybody in a civilised society.

Schools have an inherent responsibility to have a programme in place where children can get career advice.

“We’re not all scientists, we’re not all engineers, we’re not all doctors and dentists, but every one of us has got a skill and that skill should be enhanced and helped come to fruition.”

He added if schools need extra finances for such provision, it needs to be found.

Cllr Ruth Berkley added “education is key to taking people out of poverty” and support is needed from an early age to help support career progression.

She said: “Those choices can only be made if you know what’s out there, and finding out as a young person what’s out there isn’t always easy.”

She also raised concerns about the impact of transport costs on young people, making it harder for them to travel, with similar worries echoed by Cllr Joan Keegan.

Cllr Keegan added: “If they can’t get to where they want to get to, if they can’t drive, it’s really restrictive, it’s massively restrictive with transport and what kids can do.”

Council officers added work is ongoing with schools and there is a “responsibility and willingness” from businesses to get involved with careers support.