Leeds Today: opportunities, research, schools, signs, bricks, beer, and weekend highlights.

Good morning Leeds lads and lasses! Mark O’Brien here with the day’s news from across our city and a look ahead at what’s on the horizon this weekend.

First up, don’t forget to keep your shots coming in for our Alternative Photo Competition. I was away in London for a couple of days this week; I often am away somewhere these days. But the return journey is always something I look forward to, arriving into the train station and gazing up at the sign above the ticket barriers proclaiming: “Welcome to Leeds”.

Standing on City Square in the early evening, looking down Wellington Street as the golden sun sets in the west. Taking the bus into town along York Road and seeing the clanging, jagged symphony of high-risers towering over the city centre. The white-kitted Saturday afternoon crowds lining up for the bus to Elland Road, like an echo of a Larkin’s famous poem…

If I could build a gallery, it would never be large enough to house all these pictures that race to my mind when I think of my city. When you think of Leeds, what do you see? We want to find out.

To inspire your thoughts, here’s what’s making the news around the city this morning…

‘Secret Millionaire’ and Leeds-born philanthropist Terry George launched the exciting new Aspire 2 Achieve programme in the city yesterday, in association with Leeds Met. Working with schoolboys at partner schools across the city from year 9 and above, the scheme will include university visits, taster sessions, and workshops – all to encourage working-class kids to aim high and set their sights on getting a place at university.

This comes as the city council continues its quest to seek out the best future apprentices for the ‘Build My Future; Build My Leeds’ programme. Open to school pupils from year 11 and above, the programme offers an incredible opportunity to gain a full apprenticeship in construction here in our very own city where we pride ourselves on constantly building anew. More details from the council website.

Any young Leeds lad or lady aspiring to a future in industry could hardly find a better breeding ground – as Martin Wainwright notes in his latest epistle, commenting on the city’s “ability to turn a penny from anything”. He writes about a pioneering new development in the building trade, produced by Yorkshire Water and Leeds University – bricks made from sewage.

And that’s not all. Researchers at Leeds University have also been developing a gel electrolyte that could be used in cheaper, safer, powerful lightweight batteries to power all manner of daily appliances.

More great achievement for youngsters in our region, as a group of boys at the Grammar School of Leeds took the latest of a string of titles that has made them Yorkshire champions in rugby union, rugby league, and cricket. Even more impressive, GSAL boys have only recently become involved in rugby league (otherwise known as “proper rugby”), thanks to work by Leeds Rhinos to introduce the sport to independent schools around the county.

But if the idea of all that hard work – whether in the labs, on the building site, or on the rugby pitch – is too much for you this Friday morning, then here’s something that you will definitely enjoy. West Yorkshire has more breweries producing more beers than anywhere else in the UK, according to the Campaign for Real Ale. The region “swept away” the competition, with our pals in North Yorkshire ranking fifth on the list. 43 breweries making nearly three hundred beers – who needs Oktoberfest when we’ve got all this right here in our own public houses?

More in brief: A new stone sign is to be built to welcome visitors to Farsley, reports the YEP. In Horsforth meanwhile, protestors are set to take to the streets this weekend, criticising plans to switch the high-achieving Horsforth School from local authority control.

Some highlights from the blogosphere today: Secret Tea Room host Lynn has been looking at the fascinating ‘Recipes Across the Years’ book from the West Yorkshire Archives Service – and has been trying out some of the cracking cakes inside. ‘Gobly Cake’, anyone…?

Meanwhile, as Jeremy Hunt continues his local television crusade around the country, and as more and more people are talking about alternative media and community journalism, the folks at South Leeds Life look back on the first few months of their project. 11,000 hits since last November; thirteen authors contributing to the site; and now a print magazine ready to hit the presses – the future is bright.

And finally, looking ahead to the weekend: the students are back in town; the blazing glory of the summer’s dying moments is upon us; all the city is out and about, and we can only graze the surface…

Drop by The Light this weekend for the start of a brand new exhibition from DIY art collective Black Dogs. ‘Next To Nothing’ is described as an exhibition ‘on The Price of Nothing and the Value of Everything’. A fascinating series of insights into culture and work and everything that revolves around the two in our times, the exhibition runs from this week through to October 1st.

And it’s your last chance this weekend to see T’ity-As’s at the Enjoy Art Space in Mabgate, supported by East Street Arts. The climax of a gravity-defying residency, and great fun to watch – just make sure you’re careful if you try googling their name at work…

Have a lovely one this weekend, folks. Go and treat yourselves to one of West Yorkshire’s acclaimed beers on me whilst you’re at it. (Receipts will not be accepted, mind.)

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5 Responses to Leeds Today: opportunities, research, schools, signs, bricks, beer, and weekend highlights.

  1. Liv Garvey says:

    Would it not be sufficient to report that the council’s apprenticeship programme is an excellent opportunity for any qualifying young person, rather the “Leeds lad” described in today’s post. BGL cannot seriously be assuming that young girls are not interested in/entitled to opportunites to enter the construction industry? Please don’t peddle these outmoded and unhelpful perceptions – you never know who might be reading!

  2. Fair enough; we’ve made an appropriate edit.

  3. Mark O'Brien says:

    Miss Garvey, as I wrote that I’m going to take your flak — not Beyond Guardian Leeds. But I hope rather than expecting BGL edits what it writes for “who might be reading”, you’d give the young men and women of Leeds some respect yourself rather than think that using the phrase “Leeds lad” (when one of the programmes I’d cited is itself targted at Leeds school-age boys) is going to cement (pardon the pun) “outmoded and unhelpful perceptions”. Of course young girls are interested in these opportunities – but to suggest they’re going to be put off by language like that is treating them with far more disdain, and presumes that young people and young adults like me are too ignorant to make our own decisions and chart our own destiny, regardless of old-fashioned perceptions.

  4. Liv Garvey says:

    Thanks for your response Mark, although I would generally presume taking the flak also implies taking some responsibility for your comment. Langauage is an incredibly powerful tool in shaping perceptions, in this case the perception that both schemes are aimed at boys rather than just the first. To deny its power and claim that readers are solely responsible for interpreting meaning is to give licence to any manner of discrimination. Glad BGL have acknowledged the inapropriateness of this comment and edited it to imply equal access.

  5. Mark O'Brien says:

    What a happy and harmonious society we’d live in if the word “lad” were all it was that might put a girl off a vocation in the construction industry. All I worry is that having to “edit… to *imply* equal access” is one of the worst things you could do to anyone who’s simply looking for an opportunity to have a go at — boy, girl, or whatever in between.

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