In a pre-recorded address to school leavers, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he “can’t wait to see the great new world that you’re going to help us to build”.
In the address published on social media on Friday, the Prime Minister said, speaking to school leavers, “This is a final year like no other. Your last months of school have coincided with the greatest crisis our country has faced since the Second World War.”
The Prime Minister thanked school leavers for ‘doing the right thing’ over the past weeks and months and said that he wanted young people to know that “your efforts have been worth it”.
“Because of you, because of your sacrifice, we have saved hundreds of thousands of lives”, the Prime Minister said.
He added that in the future, today’s school leavers will be able to “talk with pride, not just of the lives you helped save but of the country you helped rebuild”. He said that the country now faces the “incredible opportunity to do things differently” as society reopens from the Coronavirus lockdown measures that have been in place over recent months, saying that school leavers will play a key role in helping the nation to build back following the pandemic;
“Your generation are going to be so, so vital to that national effort to rebuild because we’re going to need bright brilliant young people like you and that strength of character, the qualities that you forged during the lockdown, empathy, resilience, self-discipline, patience, those are qualities we’re going to need now as we make our society fairer, make our air cleaner, stop our planet getting warmer and those are qualities that are going to carry you forwards and upwards and make you one of the most important and influential generations in the peacetime history of our nation.”
The PM told school leavers that their journey forward may not always be easy, but urged them to keep going, to “jump on every opportunity that comes your way, rugby tackle that opportunity to the floor”.
“I know this year hasn’t ended the way you wanted it to and I know you’ll never get back the past few months or enjoy the experiences that you hoped to but I promise you, it has been worth it and I can’t wait to see the great new world that you’re going to help us to build”.
School leavers in the UK have seen exams cancelled this year and most students will be given calculated grades on results day.
The address by the Prime Minister that was published on Friday was the first main address he has given to young people during the Coronavirus pandemic. There have been calls for the government to hold a press conference for young people and to engage more with the younger generation, however, the extent to which this has happened so far in England has been limited.