From education to employment

Hope for gang members who channel their skills appropriately

The Shadow Business Secretary recently spoke of the potential for young gang members to be entrepreneurial if they channel their skills appropriately.

Speaking at ‘Hub Westminster’, which provides facilities and support for start up firms, Labour MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna, said that many young gang members had ‘entrepreneurial zeal’, which if used in an appropriate legitimate setting, could help them to establish a progressive and successful career.

Umunna said: What frustrates me is this: many of these young people are using skills that if channeled in the right way, could provide them with an alternative route to success.”

He referred to his own Borough of Lambeth as an example of an area acutely affected by young gangs; where numerous killings have taken place.

He said: “In Lambeth, too much of this entrepreneurial instinct is being channeled into totally the wrong thing. Just imagine what our young gang members could achieve if their energies were redirected.”

Umunna, who is chair of the London Gangs Forum, referred to how gangs build their own brands across the internet, such as through utilising online sharing spaces such as YouTube, where they often put music videos that they have produced to promote their activities.

Acknowledging the potential to channel these skills in a business setting, Mr Umunna said: “Instead, as things stand, many of them will likely end up in jail with blood on their hands unless we change things.”

He added: “To succeed in the future we must write the next chapter of our own national story – with aspiration at its heart, entrepreneurship as its state of mind, and community as its end.”

Linsey Humphries

Related Articles