Relegate this waste to past

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WITH youth unemployment at critical levels and the prospects of young people finding jobs in the near future looking bleaker than ever, we are totally baffled – and dismayed – to learn that an astonishing 4,800 Sheffield pupils missed the equivalent of a whole month of lessons during the last complete school year.

This is nothing short of a scandal and calls for the strongest action to put right this wasteful wrong.

Education is the most precious gift any caring society can give to its young people. And for so many of Sheffield’s young people to waste it in such a manner, and at such a time, is totally without reason or right.

Sadly it appears that in some of the 4,800 cases, children are missing time at school with the assistance and approval of their parents.

Some are even taken abroad, to go on holiday or to visit family members.

We note that the situation has improved over recent years, but Sheffield remains a schools absence blackspot with statistics here worse than the national average.

We are sure readers will look forward to seeing the improvements pick up pace and this terrible waste relegated to the past.

Manufacturing is lifeline to future

THE Government should listen to the plea by Local Enterprise Partnership chairman James Newman who wants to see the establishment of a Minister for Manufacturing.

This industrial sector has long been neglected by Whitehall, giving the impression that central government has given up on the idea of anything being made in Britain and opening the door to foreign competitors to flood our markets with imports.

However, Sheffield has shown that the path out of economic decline is to be found in new export markets.

In fact the city was praised after Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green heard of the way local manufacturers have used export opportunities to help the local economy.

For further proof of the chance to expand by selling our wares and expertise to foreign countries, look no further than Darnall-based Diamond Dispersions, which has pledged to use a cash windfall that came with winning a HSBC Business Growth grant to expand its international markets.

These are strong messages and the Government would be well advised to take the Sheffield example as a model for national recovery.

Manufacturing is not the dead duck so many people have thought it to be for so long. It is a lifeline to the future.