BEFORE being enthroned in
Canterbury Cathedral in two months' time, the Bishop of Durham, the
Rt Revd Justin Welby, has agreed to occupy another chair: that of
the editor of The Northern Echo.
Bishop Welby was invited
to guest-edit the newspaper last Friday, to mark the first
anniversary of the Darlington Foundation for Jobs, a joint
initiative to tackle youth unemployment, led by The Northern
Echo and Darlington Borough Council. He is patron of the
"The success it has
achieved in breaking all of its targets is a testament to the
passion of the people of the North East," he said on Friday.
"Getting young people into work, and equipping them with the skills
needed to grow the local economy, is the way that communities and
economies can move from strength to strength." He would like to see
the scheme "replicated widely".
In a leader comment for
the newspaper, Bishop Welby said that he would "go on pushing" for
the area. The allocation of construction funds by the Government
was "grossly unequal", he said, and the North-East was getting the
In addition to his
editorial duties, Bishop Welby visited the Darlington plant of the
engineering company Cummins, where he addressed school children. He
had been told that he "wasn't even bright enough for a career in
engineering", but he realised, while working in the oil industry,
that "the brightest people were the engineers.
"One of the things I am
hearing about this area is that lots of people can't get jobs, but
I also hear that there are not the people with the skills. It is a
myth that there are totally no jobs around: it is just that there
are not jobs for people without the hunger."
He also expressed
concerns about the proposed English Baccalaureate. "My concern is
that it must not derail technical and vocational education. Our own
history is of that happening, even if it is unintentional."
On Friday, the editor of The Northern Echo, Peter
Barron, praised Bishop Welby's "down-to-earth approach and sense of
humour". As guest editor, the Bishop had pushed for a story about
pot-bellied pigs to go on the front page.