‘Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not’, says paralympic swimmer Lord Holmes

The government needs to do everything possible to help people achieve their full potential, said Lord Holmes of Richmond


The disability rights campaigner opened a social mobility debate in the House of Lords yesterday (Thursday 27th October), which emphasised the importance of developing skills and training to prepare people for the job market. 
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He said: “Everybody, whatever their background, their geography or their socioeconomic status may be, has the opportunity to succeed in modern Britain.” 
Holmes who is a lifelong campaigner for equality and inclusion, explained that the digital revolution and dangers of automation were threatening 35 per cent of jobs and alienating a lot of people.
“Digital skills are needed to be considered as equally important as literacy and numeracy to ensure that everyone could benefit from opportunities.”
“What are the government plans to champion character education, which is such an intricate part of people’s learning? The surveys demonstrate that where people have the opportunity to engage in sports, their numeracy can rise up to 29 per cent so this can’t be underestimated.”
“It seems crazy that in such modern times there is still such a disparity between higher and further education and indeed other routes. The danger is an over focus on higher education with the inevitability of shadowing out other potentially positive, mobility making options, not least apprenticeships and other workplace opportunities. 
Holmes who sits on the Future Talent Steering Group, which offers thought leadership on the future of work, stressed that people would need “resilience, grit and determination” to compete in a “complex and fractured labour market.”  
“We need effective careers advice, which should start from the first moment that someone steps into your classroom. This is crucial so people are aware of what jobs are out there and can aspire to to be in them…talent is everywhere; opportunity is not.”


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