Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 61 - 79)



  Q61  Chairman: Good morning. Thank you very much for joining us this morning to give evidence in the second session of the Committee's inquiry. Could we start by asking each of our witnesses to introduce themselves and their organisations for the record, and then we will get underway.

  Reverend Isaacs: Good morning, everyone. My name is Reverend Les Isaacs. I am the Director of a charitable organisation called Ascension Trust that has been running for 14 years. Over the last five years we have embarked on an initiative, as well, called Street Pastors. That was two years in the making and is now three years up and running. We started with 18 people, going out on the streets from 10 o'clock at night until four in the morning to engage young people, in particular, in two boroughs in London. We are over 600 people in 11 boroughs in London and seven cities across the country.

  Reverend Obunge: My name is Nims Obunge and I happen to be a Pastor of a church called Freedom's Ark and the Chief Executive of an organisation called The Peace Alliance. The initiative is based around working with community voluntary/statutory/faith organisations, trying to ensure that there is a holistic response to challenges of criminal justice in our community. I am also fortunate to be the Acting Chair for the London Criminal Justice Board advisory group, and oversee knife crime in that advisory group capacity.

  Q62  Chairman: Thank you both very much indeed. We are grateful to you for coming this morning. This is the second evidence session we have had in our inquiry into Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System. As two people with the jobs you have, could I ask you what your reaction was when you heard that a select committee of the House of Commons was having an inquiry into young black people and the criminal justice system?

  Reverend Obunge: About time. My gut feeling was "About time", and the feeling that it has been overlooked, undermined, underplayed and has not been given the effective attention it needs. I suppose in local communities it is more obvious. The dream had been that the centre would pick it up and do something.

  Reverend Isaacs: My thought in response was: "I hope this is not just a piece of academic exercise." I felt and hoped that something tangible would come out of this to help us to address the mammoth problems we have in our local communities.

  Q63  Chairman: I asked the question because some of the people who have responded to our inquiry have questioned our motives in even having an inquiry with this sort of title, so it is pleasing to have your support. Without asking you to go into the issues in detail, because we will try to cover everything in our question session, if this inquiry is of importance, what for each of you are the key issues you would like to see us discuss when we produce our report—not necessarily setting out exactly what we should include but what are the issues we need to make sure we touch on?

  Reverend Obunge: Could you forgive me, for, being a minister, I am quite outspoken and very unhypocritical. I am a bit challenged by the present company, the Committee, because I do not see any black person on it. That, in itself, is a reflection of the challenge we have in the black community. If I am giving evidence, I had hoped to see somebody from my community sat with yourselves who would be able to tune things—and I am not talking about somebody sitting at the back of yourselves, but sitting in the centre. That is why I say you need to forgive me being outspoken; it is just that is the way things are. I already feel challenged at the moment, but I would like to see that maybe the Committee reviews itself first of all, before it reviews ourselves, because if you are not able to do that effectively we will not be able to get what we are looking for and we will end up with a piece of paper that might be a potential tick in the box, a tokenistic exercise, that might not have a sustainable future. That would be my key thing. I would like an internal review before an external examination.

  Reverend Isaacs: I would say "Amen" to that.

  Q64  Chairman: What you raise is a much wider issue, because we reflect very much the makeup of the House of Commons—

  Reverend Obunge: I understand.

  Q65  Chairman: — so these things are not entirely within our gift. But you have answered the point very frankly and we are grateful to you for that. You know, as we do, that the statistics show an over representation of young black people in crime in the criminal justice system. Do you think that is reflecting a real phenomenon, that there is more crime being committed by young people and more people in the criminal justice system, or is it, as some people suggested to us, a quirk of what the statistics are showing us—perhaps, about poverty or something of that sort—rather than what is happening to young black people?

  Reverend Isaacs: I think there is overemphasis on young black men in jail. But the fact is—as I visit jails up and down the country—there is a very high disproportion of young black men in our institutions, hence it has, in one sense, demonised young black boys and men in the public's opinion. Every year I meet up with literally hundreds of black boys and girls who have accomplished their A-levels and are actively engaging in seeking further education at universities, yet they never get a glimpse in the public domain or media. I am very concerned. I also think our courts too readily hand out sentences to our young boys, rather than looking for alternatives within the community to help our young boys go through the most difficult adolescent period. I think there is a lot that can be done, there is a lot that needs to be done, and far too many of these boys are given custodial sentences whereas I believe we could do something different.

  Reverend Obunge: I think the first encounter a young black person has with the criminal justice system is most likely with the police. That is the critical encounter. When we look at stop and search rates, the facts speak for themselves. The black community is more likely to be stopped and searched. I have sat on the MPA Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel and the Home Office stop and search Community Panel and the statistics are very high: up to six times more likely in some cases than their white counterparts. When that first encounter is going to take place with the police, black young people already feel persecuted. They already feel that they are going to be targeted, so there is already a reaction to that initial encounter, and in some cases it is not crime. I am not denying the fact that there are some criminals within our community but the fact is that in some cases that criminality is based on persecution. I think we have to look at both sides of the coin. We need to look at the context of stop and search and we also need to explore issues around the drugs trade. So, yes, there are some concerns around how the drugs trade within the black community or gun crime within the black community seems higher than in most other communities. I think you would have seen recently one of the gentlemen giving evidence—and I am sure we will speak about it later on today—in the context that there is potential that there are some middle-class white folks who seem to enjoy the drugs trade and enjoy our drugs, and so they encourage black people to get engaged in the drugs trade.

  Q66  Chairman: You are both leaders of your communities. In your communities is the current discussion primarily about why some of your young people are getting involved in crime or is the discussion primarily about this experience of your young people at the hands of the criminal justice system? It may be unfair asking you to choose between those two but I would be interested to know how the balance of the discussion takes place.

  Reverend Isaacs: Both of those issues are very much high on the radar and the agenda of our communities. There is always discussion about how many of our young, particularly boys/men, are in jail. There is also discussion about the issues of why it is that our young boys, in particular, find it very easy to find themselves involved with the drugs industry and also within the gang culture and the crime culture. Those discussions are never far from the table. It is there in the council flats; it is there in the middle-class agenda. We are always talking about those things.

  Reverend Obunge: Why do we talk about it? I think that is important. Why are we having the discussions about overrepresentation? Why are we having this dialogue? The dialogue is there because there is a frustration. This just did not start today. We are looking at cause and effect. If we look at the context of employment reality—underemployment, underachievement—all those issues act as mitigating factors within the black community. In my submission to you I identified some of the discussions, and we cannot deny that there are discussions and debates around parenting. There are discussions and debates even amongst ourselves. We need to look inside and say: "What else can we do to support our young black people?" There are big debates around what our responsibilities are to our young people and the breakdown of the family structure, but, at the same time, you realise there is this pressure from the lack of opportunities that exist out there and the discrimination and potential racial issues, racism in some contexts—which, cutting to the chase, would be the right word in some cases—for our young black people. That tension exists and I think a lot of our young people are in the criminal justice system not so much because they want to be in there but it is about opportunities. There is a big issue on opportunities.

  Q67  Mr Benyon: Both of your organisations are involved with combating gun crime. Gun crime affects a lot of different communities but there is a perception or a reality that it affects black communities and young black males in a much more emphasised way, both as victims and perpetrators. What success have you had in the work you have done? In which direction would you point this Committee towards successfully combating gun crime, and how it can affect your communities for the better?

  Reverend Isaacs: I am always very careful about using the word "success". The strategy and policy within our organisation is that it has to be between 10-15 years because this problem is endemic, it is long-term. It is not a one-year project; it is a long-term initiative that we have to work on. That is the first point. The second point is this: we recognise, we constantly have at the forefront, that if we are going to have some tangible bearing and outcome within this issue we have to work and think and have a strategy for us to think about a generation plus. We have started by saying, "Let's just go out and engage people." That is why we looked at the whole issue of when crime happened. We looked at the 24-hour clock with the police and we realised that in the evenings certain things happened. We felt that we had to go out there and get into their minds, build relationships, build trust, and let young people know that we are not there for them because we are getting something out of it but we are there for them because we are genuinely concerned for them. In some of our boroughs we have seen street crime—preventative of a major incident happening—reduced by 90%. By 75% we have seen incidents reduce in some of the areas we are working with. People have even rung us up and said, "Look, I've got a gun. Could you come and get it from me. I don't want this lifestyle any more." We are creating the space for people to say, "If I want to cry out, who do I cry out to and who can help me out of that?" When we talk about success, we realise that there are many, many more guns out there and it is not one or two guns that we want; we want as many as possible. That is how we are seeing things happening and not only with guns but drugs as well. People are saying to us, "Pastor, I've got this. I'm involved. Please, help me. I don't want to do it any more."

  Reverend Obunge: The word "success" remains relative. I sit also within the advisory capacity as a member of the Trident Independent Advisory Group and we are very careful when we use that word "success", even though we see, sometimes, our figures go down. You know, one incident is one incident too many. All of a sudden that impacts on the community. The reason I started getting involved in social action, as it were, was because I was, as a minister, being called to bury kids who had been shot or stabbed in our communities. We got to that moment where we said, "We are speaking so often at their deaths, but what do we do to keep them alive?" As a result of that, a raft of campaigns have taken place and these campaigns challenge young people. We are still engaged in that. In my organisation, we developed a 90-minute DVD and a manual for schools/teachers called Untouchable, which has been used around the country. Untouchable is one of the numerous study materials in the toolkit to help young people or to deter them from gun crime. My concern is more around an exit strategy. As a typical example: I had a young man with a gun come over to me. He wanted to come out. He wanted to leave that culture. But when I tried to encourage him, support him out of it, I realised that there was no exit strategy by the Government to help a person out from there. The police did not have the strategy because the police were looking for him to report, to rat out on his community in order to get protective measures because he knew his life was at risk. He was not ready to spill the beans, and because he was not ready to spill the beans he was not given protective custody. Therefore, you find such a person still stuck in that environment because there is no support structure. I have raised this with the Commissioner of Police, I have raised it with Hazel Blears, I have raised it with very senior Home Office officials and nobody has been able to identify effective exit strategies for such young people. We need to think effectively of exit strategies for people who are so vulnerable in their community.

  Q68  Mr Benyon: Could you get a copy of Untouchable to the Committee?

  Reverend Obunge: Without a doubt. We can get it, and the manual.[1]

  Q69  Mr Benyon: The previous evidence session heard advice from a number of people involved in social work that we should look very closely at the cultural factors that are drawing people towards such things as gun and knife crime, and, in particular, rap and hip-hop music. Do you have a view on that?

  Reverend Obunge: I think you need, first of all, not to use gun and knife crime collectively. That is dangerous. In reality knife crime does not necessarily disproportionately exist within the black community; it exists also within the white community.

  Q70  Mr Benyon: Both crimes exist within both communities.

  Reverend Obunge: Holistically combining the notions is a bit of a challenging point. I think it is important that we know that. On the issue around whether hip-hop music encourages gun crime, I think we have had this debate at the Home Office round-table—and, at that time, dare I say, the Chair was also involved as Home Office Minister. It was clear that that was not so much an issue. I mean, it is a cultural issue, music is cultural, but young people do not feel per se that that is the single mitigating factor resulting in gun crime. I think we need to look at the culture that exists at this present time amongst young black people and the issues around deprivation, not just music. You see, it is so easy to look at music and not consider the real factors of deprivation: underachievement, lack of opportunities. Music is such a minor issue, it is a blip compared to the more serious issues that I feel the Government needs to be looking at. Leave the music alone and let us deal with the more serious issues.

  Q71  Mr Benyon: I have one final question about gender. We are obsessed in this report by young black males. Are we right to be? Why is there a difference between young black males and young black females?

  Reverend Isaacs: I think there are some very important factors. One is the very high proportion of absent fathers. These young men are crying out for fathers. I walked into a room at 9.30 one evening—an aunty rang me up and she said, "Come and speak to my nephew." I got there at 9.30. Grandma was there, the boy's mother was there. The first thing he said to me was, "I'm surrounded by all women. I have no men around me as a model." Here is a 19-year old young man, staying in his house all day, leaving at 9.00 at night. That has had an enormous impact on our young men, young boys. You have young boys who sometimes are living with their step-mothers and tension is there. They are looking for that affirmation; they are looking for that identity; they are looking for that role model. They do not find it in the home and they go out and they meet a group of men or young boys who are involved in devious activities, they find affirmation. They get what they want, whether it is a mobile phone or an i-Pod or trainers. They get that protection. In return, they do all sorts of things. You can see that because of the lack of the stability in that fatherly figure, that male role in the home, they come to the point where they sort of yearn for it. We tend to find that it leads them more often than not to the wrong part of activities within the community. Rather than being constructive, they go to a destructive part of the community. From my point of view, whether it is London, Birmingham, Manchester, St Paul's or Nottingham, we have seen the same thing, that, where the father is absent, the more the vulnerability for young boys, in particular, to get involved in crime.

  Reverend Obunge: Added to that would be the reality that we are dealing with something that is endemic. We are dealing with the absence. Again, I have to get to the core issue: when we talk about role models or absent fathers, we are talking about men that young black people can look up to. The media gives us notions of a certain model of who the black person is, yet we have some very successful black people in the corporate world, some very successful black people in other spheres of British life. Those black folks do not really feature quite often. When black people do not see themselves—there is something called black pride—it is about: Where is the pride? There is no sense of pride. We are not building that image, unfortunately. I know that the present Government is talking about Britishness, but one of the things is: Does a young black person see Britishness as involving themselves? Does that also celebrate blackness? If Britishness does not celebrate blackness, then the fact is that there is a point of frustration with that. When you look at the black boys, they are fighters—and when I say fighters, I am not talking about the fighters on the street. As a black man, we are fighters in our community, we want to achieve, and if we are not going to achieve in one area we will achieve in another area. But one thing is evident: we have to try to achieve. I just feel it is unfortunate that we might have young black people involved in a lot of criminality, but this Committee needs to understand that even amongst black Africans, who are highly educated, unemployment opportunities exist and so therefore they resort to other forms of employment.

  Q72  Mrs Cryer: From what the Reverend Isaacs said, there does appear to be a problem of young men growing up in all-female households. I think you are saying there is a lack of role models for them. Are you, as church people, doing anything to encourage more permanent relationships between men and women so that they bring these young men up jointly? Is there anything that government or agencies can do to encourage more families where there are two parents? I recognise that this is a problem in other communities, not just black communities, but from what you have said there does seem to be a particular problem here.

  Reverend Isaacs: Unfortunately, I think the Government has sent mixed messages. We say to people that long-term commitment is better than co-habiting. We emphasise that strongly. We do not condemn or judge people, but we encourage people in terms of marriage, in terms of: "Listen, this is a relationship that should last until life." Secondly, we, as a church, a faith group, have particularly developed mentoring. We have an ongoing programme of recruiting men and mentoring men, so that men from the church can adopt a young man in the church or outside the church. We have a programme where we are even adopting men in prison, so we are meeting them six months before they come out of jail, mentoring them in prison, helping them to work through what is life after prison, then mentoring them after prison and seeking to help them educationally. But we recognise that it is one thing mentoring the men who are already in the institution or involved in crime, but it is another thing to mentor young boys who need a very high level of commitment—a very high level of commitment. We are constantly looking at that. For instance, I myself am mentoring two young boys. That is part of my other jobs and commitment that I have. I have to say to myself that it is not a nine-to-five mentoring. I am quite willing to meet up with one of my lads at 11 o'clock, wherever he is, and just spend that two hours with him. We are constantly working on that, emphasising that, coming up with initiatives that would help us to help young people, particularly young boys, on the street. But, again, we come to the point of frustration, where we recognise we could talk to a young lad and say, "Education is important" but then, when we begin to help that young guy and talk about the importance of education, we realise we cannot access the school to say to the school, "Listen, we have been talking with Johnny, this is the support he needs." Part of what we say to the school, is "When something does occur, please touch base with us, because we understand the issues with Johnny. Let us be part of the solution, rather than saying, `Johnny has been bad, let's exclude him, let's get him off our books,' and then, when Johnny is out of school, because we are not with him for the seven hours that day, Johnny finds someone else or a gang that he is involved with." All the good work that we could be doing with Johnny in the evenings, a couple of hours a week, could be just thrown out because of the lack of cooperation and strategy between us, the school, and, may I say, the police as well.

  Chairman: I am going to move us on, if I may. We will come back to this issue a little later on.

  Q73  Mrs Dean: Earlier in the questions, there was reference made to perceived differential in the use of stop and search. Are there any other ways in which you believe that there is different treatment by the police and criminal justice system which might be to blame for the young black person's over-representation in the system?

  Reverend Obunge: I think the Reverend Les Isaacs also was clear about the court systems. I asked a question quite recently at the London Criminal Justice Board asking for whether there had been a proper study of the courts as to whether various benches seem to disproportionately send certain black people in, and that study has not been done. I think that study needs to be done, so we identify whether magistrates or judges can be brought to be accountable for the way they might potentially criminalise young people. There is work to be done in all tiers of the criminal justice system; dare I say it, within the prisons; and within the Probation Service. The full structure within the criminal justice system needs to be looked at. In London, more recently, Lee Jasper, who will be giving evidence today, and I sit on that board and in every tier of decision-making within the criminal justice system we are asking questions about race. That is being looked at now a bit more effectively. I feel there is a lot of work that has not yet been done, so I cannot give total evidence on that, but I know that there is a gap of analysis.

  Q74  Mrs Dean: Reverend Obunge, in your evidence you suggest that the media exaggerates young black people's involvement in crime. You also highlight a perceived under-reporting of black young people as victims. Can you give examples of specific incidents or types of incident that you feel have been under- or over-reported?

  Reverend Obunge: I will give a very clear example: on a day I was meant to be speaking on the BBC on a particular news programme, I met an editor of a well-known tabloid. There was a shooting that happened in the black community and he basically said to me—off the record, not on air—that amongst the media they do not pick up on the issues of the black community shooting themselves because it just goes on, and so there is no interest any more amongst the media. It was blatant. He was not apologetic; it was just a statement of fact. There is no need to name and shame but when that statement was made it was a clear indication of the thinking of the tabloids. More recently, just a few days ago, I made a call to another tabloid newspaper on a particular issue and I made reference to certain black issues, and they said, "Look, our readers are not interested in this. Because our readers are not interested, therefore we have no need to pick it up." Essentially, they were saying: "Our readers are mostly white folks and the black itinerary does not fit in here."

  Q75  Mrs Dean: Are there incidents of over-reporting that you could highlight, where the perpetrator, if you like, of the crime has been a black person?

  Reverend Obunge: My experience and the perception—and sometimes perception is more real than reality—is that there is that image: when it is of having something negative going on in the black community, that is very highly reported. One of the people working in my organisation is Winston Silcott. I employed him when he came out of prison. I had folks from the tabloid sneaking into my offices. We had all sorts of negative reporting around him and another black fellow that we had working in our organisation. Winston, by the way, still works with us. But I felt that the media would negatively portray a black man but not positively portray a black person. That is really the angle that I was coming at.

  Q76  Mrs Dean: Reverend Isaacs, do you want to add to that?

  Reverend Isaacs: Yes, I think there is, on the ground, a mistrust of the media in terms of how it portrays us but there is also still a mistrust of the police. These young men go on to commit crime because they feel that if they go through the route of the police they will not get justice. You have a culture of young people saying, "I will deal with it myself." So there is a young man being shot, the police go in to interview him on his bed and he says nothing: "Nothing to say." What he is really saying is, "We will deal with it ourselves." I think there needs to be greater emphasis on the police to work with the black community, in terms of the church and other groups—who are doing some fantastic work—and say, "How do we break this vicious cycle?" Where there is confidence, there is trust, and we could stop people committing these revenge killings over very trivial things. I highlight a case last weekend. A mother said to me, "My son was beaten up—him and five other guys—and taken to hospital. Please could you come and see him because someone has offered him a piece"—and a piece is a gun. "They want revenge. They have no confidence to go to the police. They feel that they can't because they may become a victim and subject to inquiry rather than the other people who committed this crime against them." It is those kinds of things that I think we need to look at seriously and to ask those questions of the police. Are we all doing enough to ensure that this cycle is broken? Finally, it has been said on numerous occasions that, whilst our Government is fighting the war in Baghdad and Afghanistan, there is a small war taking place within the black community which nobody seems to give a damn about. There is that feeling on the ground within the community.

  Q77  Gwyn Prosser: Reverend Obunge, you have listed nine or 10 causes of this overrepresentation in your written evidence. I would like to look at two—and you have touched on them already this morning. To what extent would you say this overrepresentation might be due to the issues of deprivation and poverty as compared to perhaps others who say young black people might be taking an active choice in their lifestyle. There might be a connection between the two, and there probably is, but if you were saying which weighs the heaviest in causing this what would be your answer?

  Reverend Obunge: A young black person living in Hadley Wood is not likely to be involved with some of the issues that you might find for a young black person living in some areas of Brixton or Tottenham. That, in itself, should clarify some of the issues. If we look at the type of person, if we go into our prisons—I do go into the prisons—and you look at the representation of the black people there and you look at their parental background and their geographical background, there are certain things that are quite obvious: where they live; certain experiences they have had. You will find out that, in some cases, once their brother has been involved in the criminal justice system it is more likely these are the ones that will be involved, because it exists within their family structures. I believe that there is a major issue around communities that do not feel the regeneration impacting on their local families. I am one who believes that the Government does need to take a bit of, should we call it, affirmative action around those areas, or positive action, targeted at such communities. In my borough that is what I am also suggesting, that we target those communities, we target those communities where there is deprivation. In my evidence, I stated, when sitting on the Crime and Disorder Reduction Board for my borough, hearing an analyst walk into the room and say, "If we dealt with the black young people"—and I was the only black man in that room at that time—"we will solve over 50% of our crime problems in this borough." Essentially, when you think about that and an analyst makes that blunt statement, need I say any more?

  Q78  Gwyn Prosser: Indeed. You also say there is a perception or even a reality that young black people come to school-leaving age believing there are no jobs out there and that the job market has completely failed them. To what extent is that the reality? Is there a danger of that perception becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  Reverend Isaacs: I was out one night in Southwark. Accompanying me was Fiona MacTaggart, who had decided to come out to see what we were doing. She was going to come out for about an hour. It was after ten, so she was scheduled to leave us after 11. She was there until after 12.30. We met a group of boys, something like 15-20 of them, and one guy with his hoody and everything. We got talking to that young boy and it turned out he had done his GCSEs, he has A-levels, and when we spoke to him—and we spoke to him for over an hour—he was frustrated, he felt that there was nowhere for him to go. A bright, intelligent boy, but there he was, at 12.30 of a morning, on the street with a group of boys who were going nowhere. That is the cycle that we have to break, in terms of saying: "If you are bright and you have achieved something, there is somewhere for you to go and there is something for you to achieve." Just last night alone I was speaking to a councillor who rang me up because of one of her boys. She said, "I've spent just a few months with this boy and what we did within that few months was to teach him to spell his name. He has all the ability and potential but there is no one to spend time with him." If we could overcome that, we could see a major reduction in criminal activities amongst these young boys.

  Reverend Obunge: I really believe that there are some things that can be done here, if targets were set for the private sector and for the public and voluntary sectors in relation to providing employment opportunities and effective training to enable black people into the employment system. The reality is that there is some work being done but I do not believe it is enough. It is not about perception; it is the reality. I have been to many educational conferences and there are very few black people who are in senior management. The Commission for Racial Equality recently did a study and it was indicative to the fact that a black person on the same management tier as a white person needs to work about five to six times harder than that white counterpart. You do not find even promotions, and if you do not find even promotions within that then those black young people are not going to feel there is a future for them.

  Q79  Gwyn Prosser: Coming back to the bright young man with the qualifications, would you tell us a bit more about that. Had he tested the market? Had he made applications for jobs and been rejected? Or had he built up this perception in his mind: "There's nothing out there because my brother didn't get a job"?

  Reverend Isaacs: He said he has made numerous applications to companies. He said: "Not even a reply I've received." He was absolutely frustrated by that. I think it is that frustration. Many of them are saying, "What's the use?" For instance a father rang me up and I went to his record shop to meet with his son. He said, "I'm very concerned." After speaking to the son for three-quarters of an hour, I said, "What are you good at?" He said, "I like painting." I said, "Okay, if I get you a job, how would that work?" There goes the challenge, because if you are going to do an apprenticeship in painting or plumbing and you cannot read, you are unable to go to college and to fulfil the basic study that you need in terms of theory. I was speaking to a contract company. They said, "We will do supplementary education for them." Again it is to find the people who will help these young boys to go on a crash course within their context. They do not feel comfortable going to a big college. Let us help them to learn to spell their name, the phonics. Let us help them with the basics and then help them to go on to college. Then they will want to go one day a week. We saw that companies were taking on these lads, who were fantastic painters, but when it came to the college work, one day a week, they struggled and so their drop-out rate was very high. If they drop out and they are not doing that, they will find themselves doing something else. There are those things that we have to look at seriously, so that we can constantly encourage these young boys, young men to go to the next stage.

  Gwyn Prosser: Thank you.

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