Young Britain: New faces tackle old questions of childcare, jobs and commitment

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The Independent Online
The Athlete:

Jamie Baulch, 24, is a 400-metre runner. He was part of the 4x400 British relay team which won the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.

"Young men definitely want to play a bigger role in child care. I've got a baby boy, who is two, and I'm really into that whole family package.

"I love playing a role in family life and sharing responsibilities is what it's all about.

"I do my fair share of domestic chores. I like staying in and looking after the children or doing the cleaning. It's definitely different from the past.

"A lot of people who are older than me say it's not my job to look after the baby. Not only do I think it is, I also love doing it."

The Politician:

Claire Ward, 25, Labour MP for Watford, is the youngest woman in the Commons.

"Most young people grow up with a sense of hard work. Twenty or 30 years ago you could always find a job and someone going to university would be guaranteed employment at the end of their degree.

"Today's young people don't have that blase approach that our parents had about the job market. We know that employers are looking for everything. They want more than just qualifications, they want life experience and practical skills. If you do take a gap year and go travelling that's great, but it is not going to give employers what they want.

"The pressure is definitely on young people to do better in every aspect of their life."

The Footballer:

Craig Burley, 26, is a midfielder who joined Celtic from Chelsea for pounds 2.5m. He also plays for Scotland.

"I found it difficult at school because I concentrated on football so much. I've been lucky because this has paid off and I'm able to earn a living, but some of my friends weren't so fortunate. Later on I might regret not getting a better education, but it's all right for now.

"Older generations always think the young are layabouts but that is really not the case any more. Everyone I know in the sporting field is really hard-working.

"If you are not responsible and committed to your game you are never going to get on. Everything needs to be done with 100 per cent effort otherwise you lose the edge."