Mayor of GM Andy Burnham visits humanities students

14 June 2019

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham visited Ashton Sixth Form College to talk to students about his political journey. Students from a range of Humanities courses including Geography, History, Politics and Sociology, were in attendance at the event. 

The Mayor spoke openly of his childhood, the town he grew up in and the similarities he saw between his borough and Tameside. He then went on to talk about his time at the University of Cambridge. He spoke about the hard work that got him there and also the feelings of culture-shock he experienced amongst other students who were different to himself. Andy Burnham then explored the path that led him to becoming the first elected Mayor of Greater Manchester in 2017.
Following Andy Burnham’s overview of his career so far, students were able to ask him questions that covered a range of topics. Students did not hold back and asked a number of interesting and intuitive questions. 

When a student asked about the city’s response to the current climate change emergency, Andy Burnham explained his reasoning behind Greater Manchester’s aim to reach an earlier carbon neutral target of 2038, as opposed to the later 2050 date put forward by the UK government. He explained that his response in doing so is what he believes as “Greater Manchester being true to its historic tradition”. He recalled Manchester’s place in history and the various social movements that have took place here including the suffragettes and the industrial revolution. Climate change, he feels, is not only right for the environment and future generations, but it also make economic sense.

Students’ questioning pushed boundaries creating challenging and topical conversations surrounding the current structure of our political system and the possible splintering of political parties in recent months. He also spoke about the Labour Party as it stands today and the accessibility of political parties in the North. 
Andy Burnham spoke about Manchester’s response to the homeless crisis and also another area he is passionate about improving across the country: transport. He informed the students of a new free bus pass known as ‘Our pass’ that will be available to 16-18 students in education. The topics Andy Burnham explored directly related to the students live and certainly had a huge impact on their futures.

The visit was a fantastic opportunity for Politics and Humanities students to ask questions and find out more about the political system in the UK, as well as how the Mayor of Greater Manchester works, right here in their hometown.

Find out more about studying Humanities here.

Tags: history guest speaker politics geography humanities sociology guest social sciences