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Gloucestershire Business News

Ian Mean: Cotswolds rises to the challenge for young

Young people have been hard hit during the coronavirus pandemic as job opportunities and even their education were hit as large parts of the country economy closed down.

But as Gloucestershire director for Business West Ian Mean explains, innovative schemes have emerged throughout the pandemic to support and inspire them.

I am afraid the Government has been somewhat muddled and tardy in their ideas and action to ensure many of our young people are not left on the scrapheap of ambition.

I congratulate a group of five local self-employed professionals - Nigel Chute, Barry Jackson, Allison Murray, Chris Roberts and Fiona Scott- who first got together in April to create The Cotswold Challenge.

Its focus has been to support 15-19 year olds who felt increasingly lost through Covid - losing their future dreams and having their GCEs and A-Levels cancelled.

Mr Roberts said: "They had no idea whether or not they could get into college or university come September.

"They had no social life as they could not meet up with their extended families or friends, nor could they go out because of lockdown."

These five energetic Cotswolds ambassadors created a free to enter creative and educational initiative and secured 18 sponsors for the awards in three categories - art and design, creative writing and innovation.

They received a staggering 500 entries from 42 schools and colleges.

And now they have launched a new website to showcase the winning and commended entries - take a look at the great work from these young people in the Cotswolds at /thecotswoldchallenge.com/showcase/

This is a great example of business people in the Cotswolds putting their time and effort into helping the aspirations of young people and top marks to the local sponsors who made it all possible.

Entry to the world of work for our young people is going to be so difficult over the coming months through the pandemic.

That's why we must applaud and follow the great example set by those business people behind creating The Cotswold Challenge.

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