Thursday 10th of Oct saw a visit to our home, the Phoenix Centre, by The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
He was at the University for a discussion with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a tour of the Phoenix had been arranged. I was keen to hear his views on our concerns around the 20% of 16-24 year olds who are currently unemployed in our region. He seemed surprised by the figure and was interested in IYs bid to address the problem through our IY Ambassadors scheme and Liam’s Aspire TV enterprise. There was a lot of hustle and bustle around him however I was impressed that we were able to have a genuine conversation.
The gulf between his influence in Parliament and our influence in the communities we serve is huge however I got the sense that he was open to listening to what the issues were on the ground. Vince congratulated IY on being in our 7th year of business and asked me about our prospects for the future – I explained how we were 76% Trading and 24% Funded as a Social Enterprise and that funding cuts had hit both our core and our market. We agreed that it was hard work and he wished us luck.