Bolton’s young people quiz Greater Manchester Mayor hopeful on his pledge to put young people at the centre of his plan.
Andy Burnham took up the invitation to visit Bolton-based youth charity Xplode Magazine to see their work first-hand and take questions from volunteers on transport, education and apprenticeships.
Volunteer and apprentice Lydia German, 18, said: “I started volunteering at Xplode when I was in High School and it gave me to confidence and skills to apply for the SharpFutures Apprenticeship. I was lucky to interview Andy when he visited Xplode and I was really interested in his plans for a UCAS-style system to open up apprenticeship opportunities for young people.”
She added: “My apprenticeship is based in Manchester, but I live in Bolton, it means I have to get three buses and a train everyday to get to work. I think young people are turned off by the cost, but I do think Andy’s plans for reduced travel costs for 16-19 year olds would really help to open up opportunities in the City.”
The Mayoral hopeful has joined the likes of the Prince of Wales, the Minister for Civil Society and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester in praising the charity, which was crowned with the honour of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year. Andy Burnham said: “Xplode is brilliant in terms of the opportunities they are giving to young people. We want to see a lot more of that over Greater Manchester.”
Saeed Atcha, Founder and CEO of Xplode Magazine, said: “Young people are engaged in the issues that effect the community and the future. It’s the current political backbiting that turns young people off – this is the clear message we’re getting form our volunteers.”
He added: “It was refreshing to hear Andy’s pledges for young people too. Our volunteers have been interviewing other candidates, which is developing their skills. He is a very inspiring man and we are very happy he took the time to come and visit us.”