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Help I'm a Young Person - I need an opportunity!

Published 5th December 2011 by


With unemployment amongst young people at a record high, I have spent a lot of time recently writing and speaking about issues surrounding this and ways of tackling them.

The current job market is a statistical minefield and in terms of apprenticeships there are approximately 87 people applying for each available apprenticeship position. I feel the government should be investing more money into helping employers fund more apprenticeship schemes and running them for longer periods of time instead of short, eight week placements which isn’t long enough for young people to learn adequate skills.

I also feel there is a lack of information out there for people. The majority of Job Centres and schools don’t offer young people enough in terms of career advice and/or training – a severe oversight in my opinion. The average time for a consultation with someone at a Job Centre is around three minutes and I’m sure most would agree this doesn’t allow scope for proper assessment or consultation.

There are certainly some schools stepping up to the mark and making the effort to help their students, despite having careers services pulled from public education, but so many more aren’t doing enough. Young people need the support of schools and careers services now, more than ever.

Some of the current systems in place, such as school leavers and graduates being excluded from apprenticeship schemes and having to be on benefits for nine months before they can apply for them, seems ludicrous. This also has undertones of young people being viewed negatively as lazy and unwilling to work, when in fact the current economic climate is affecting people across the board, from school leavers to those with masters degrees.

One area that is reacting more positively is the academies who are looking to integrate more relevant subjects into the curriculum, as well as more vocational training and work experience placements into areas of the curriculum to help kick-start schools leavers looking to get into a career and preparing them for the world of work.

Moving forwards, I hope Nick Clegg can work to make his scheme more streamlined and to fund apprenticeships instead of subsidising them to make them more appealing to employers. I also hope society can become more understanding of social and moral responsibilities to help young people gain the skills they need, rather than dishearten them further.

Claire Young

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