Max Kirby, who says there’s never been a better time to be young, has won £10,000 for penning his thoughts on ways to reduce unemployment. Here is his winning essay.
One in five young adults in Britain is unemployed, more than twice the rate for the workforce as a whole. And (temporarily, I hope) I am one of them. Yet I am convinced there has never been a better time to be young. The world is bursting with opportunity; every day, new inventions answer questions we had never thought to ask.
It’s time to tackle youth unemployment in that spirit; as Einstein said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Generation Y should stop asking “why me?” and start asking “why not?”
First, we must adopt the right mindset: positive in outlook and global in ambition. For optimism stems, not from denying change, but from recognizing the possibilities it presents. The job-for-life has gone – but so has the tedium of career monogamy. International competition has intensified – but also opened up new opportunities abroad.
Woolworths, Borders and Comet won’t be hiring again – but if Amazon brought them down, simultaneously it is enabling sole traders and aspiring authors to reach a wider audience than ever before.
So let’s forget misplaced nostalgia and address the heart of the problem. Youth unemployment has been rising for a decade; the financial crisis can’t take all the blame, but it can teach us to challenge easy assumptions.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from
By comparison to other European countries, youth unemployment in UK is just below average at around 22%, but it is rising and has been rising since 2005. This suggests structural causes beyond the current economic situation: The labour market has been changing in ways that impact negatively on young people Recruitment practices make it increasingly … Continue reading »
As recently as 2008 there were fewer than 6,000 18-24 year olds who had been on Jobseekers’ Allowance for more than a year. That number is now just under 50,000 – more than eight times as many. This is not just the recession and its aftermath: after falling back somewhat in the year to May … Continue reading »
The harsh reality is government programmes are failing. In fact, fewer than 6,000 young people have been helped into sustained jobs: that’s just 3.4% of young people on the Work Programme. The Youth Contract, launched with much fanfare by the deputy prime minister last year, is working so well that the government has decided to … Continue reading »
T’S easy to start believing it. It’s easy to start believing it even when it’s George Osborne saying it. Easy to start believing that everyone on benefits is a workshy scrounger when the rest of us are skint and wondering how our wages will stretch to payday never mind Christmas. It’s easy to start believing … Continue reading »
“In this economic climate, with such high rates of graduate unemployment, should school leavers give far greater consideration to vocational qualifications?” asks Jane Scott Paul in Are vocational qualifications a better option than university? on guardian.co.uk. “Sadly though, youth unemployment is hardly limited to unqualified school leavers: it now extends to many of Britain’s brightest … Continue reading »
Under-24s need more help into the jobs market and a better apprenticeship structure, a new report claims Charting a path from school or university into the 21st century workplace was already tough for young people even before the Great Recession tore into businesses throughout the country and left more than a million under-24-year-olds unemployed. But … Continue reading »
The number of young people who have been unemployed for more than a year since 2000 has increased by an enormous 874 per cent (from 6,260 to 60,955), going up by 264 per cent in the last year alone. In comparison, on average across all working age groups, long-term unemployment has risen by 50 per … Continue reading »