BUSINESSES across Keighley are being urged to get involved in a scheme aimed at inspiring young people.

The Bradford Community Champions Group initiative brings together people from different walks of life to visit and work with schools, talking with pupils about how they have made a success of their lives.

It has been set-up by Gill Arnold, deputy chairman of the West Yorkshire Magistrates’ Bench.

She said: “We are delighted and excited to invite all businesses across the region to become ‘champions’, a new initiative that will enable the business community to engage with and support children and young people via schools, colleges and universities.”

Support for the scheme is being provided by Bradford Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Bradford Breakthrough.

Trevor Higgins, of Bradford Breakthrough, said: “We are delighted to offer our full support to this fantastic initiative to get schools and businesses talking more, letting our children know what opportunities are out there. It is a vital part of our sustained economic recovery from Covid-19.”

Backing is also voiced by Sandy Needham, chief executive of West and North Yorkshire Chamber.

She added: “It’s good to have an initiative that brings together businesses and the workforce of the future.”

Among those to become a champion is Mark Douglas, strategic director for children’s services at Bradford Council.

He said: “It was through education that I have managed to achieve a career that has both interested and challenged me for almost 30 years.

“I hope my experience can motivate young people to push themselves and achieve their full potential.”

For Amerjeat Sarai, education partnerships lead officer at Bradford Council, the initiative will help to create a “more prepared workforce and community growth and showcase local businesses”.

Osman Khan, temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, is involved with the Crime Prevention and Safer City champions.

He said: “Through this network of businesses, community figures, education and public sector colleagues, we aim to work collectively to tackle local issues and reduce crime across the Bradford district.

“Partnership working is vital to understanding and tackling key concerns among communities.”

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