Focus: Policy and Politics - In the Lobby

Lord Harris of Haringey was recently appointed CSV's ambassador for London after he asked the charity how he could support its work.

"In the year or so since I left the London Assembly, I have wanted to work with a number of organisations I feel are making a real contribution, not just to London but more generally," he says. "I've long been impressed with the work of CSV."

Lord Harris held discussions with the charity to determine how he might best assist its work and was subsequently pronounced CSV's ambassador for London. Lord Harris admits he's not quite sure what the title means, but he has his own objectives in mind.

He explains: "What I want to do is help promote the work of CSV within London and work with CSV to enable it to expand the various activities it carries out."

The Labour peer, who currently acts as a special adviser to the board of Transport for London, has already visited two projects in the capital in his new capacity as CSV ambassador. He used his trip to the CSV-managed Derek Higgins Construction Training Centre in north London to highlight concerns about potential skills shortages in the capital's construction industry.

"People are not taking seriously enough the substantial skills shortage in construction that will occur over the next five to 10 years with the Olympics and other important developments coming up in London," he says.

He believes young people who receive training at facilities such as CSV's could provide part of the solution to the problem. "There will be many opportunities for young people with construction skills to find employment and help to ease the situation," he adds.

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