Scary statistics for our youngsters

With boredom being one of the chief causes of petty vandalism, and youth unemployment at an all time high for fifteen years, this is a combination for disaster. And the situation’s going to get worse!

Official figures show that only two thirds of youngsters aged 16 and 17, that have already left school, have gained work in the three months to April and one in six of those aged 18 to 24 are unemployed – the most since July 1994. And job prospects for students leaving school this summer and there are tens of thousands of them, look equally bleak.

So with unemployment on the increase and companies cutting back on recruiting staff, to keep their existing workforce in place, this just adds to the youth dole queue misery, with the number of young people claiming benefits soaring by 80%; that’s nearly half a million people. And of these, young men are hit by far the hardest.

This is a social scandal on a par with politician’s expenses – creating long term unemployed before people have their first job.

So what can be done?

I think it’s been clear, for some time, that what’s taught in school has pretty much zero connection with the work place (unless the desire is to pursue academia), so I think that there is a huge opportunity for a job shadowing programme as an ongoing part of a school’s curriculum. Unlike ‘Work Experience’ this would provide youngsters with variety, following different job functions; from ‘CEO’ to ‘Post Room’, in different industries.

Hence they would pick up valuable all round knowledge and understanding of what happens in the working world. It could be organised through local Chambers of Commerce or Business Link and provided at no cost to the business world. The carrot would be their social contribution and an opportunity to meet youngsters that they may at some stage consider employing. And for all the youngsters themselves, give them something practical to discuss at interview.

Seems like a win, win scenario to me and hopefully it would also reduce boredom and hence the potential for increasing anti-social behavior and that downward spiral.


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