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Young People’s difficulties in finding work

Wednesday 7th May 2014

The challenge is becoming all too familiar. Several years spent in education, only to find a mountainous hurdle to find a job, never mind a career which will live up to your drive and ambitions. Young people are facing increasing difficulties in finding work.

Recent youth unemployment figures do not seem to mirror the well-documented improvements in the economy. As of February 2014, UK youth (16-24) there were just under 1 million young people not in work or education. This represents 20.4% of the UK young people, which is an increase of over 5% on 2008. More than 250,000 young people have been unemployed for longer than 12 months – compared to just over 100,000 at the end of 2008. In the Republic of Ireland, the rate is currently 26%.

The issue of youth unemployment affects not only the Republic of Ireland and UK, but in many countries in Europe and further afield. In fact, the youth unemployment rate across Europe is around 22%. Initiatives and schemes have been brought in at both domestic and also at European level to tackle this worrying trend.

One example, the EU Commission’s Youth Guarantee, is a new approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within four months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. But is this actually a reality?

Some personal experiences and challenges from BB Young People:

The Gazette approached several BB young people to gather their personal experiences of challenges getting into the jobs-market, or their concerns about getting a job once they leave part/full-time education/training. Amongst the responses are some from members of the 5th Hull Company Amicus group which is in Yorkshire & Humberside District.

“Ironically it seems the less skilled and academically accomplished I was, the easier it was to find a job. Up until now I have always got service sector jobs with relative ease, knowing a friend of someone or knowing someone who could slip a good word in for me, cafes, nightclubs, coffee shops, where the contracts for these sit at about 16 hours a week.” Liam, 22

“Too many jobs require experience, which is hard to get. It’s a vicious circle of needing experience and not being able to get it!” Mike, 23

“The education system fails in equipping students to make that transition from classroom to work place, which doesn’t help the young people find their first job in a decimated jobs market.” Paul, 22

“Employment is a competitive field as we are still young. Older people, who appear to have more experience on paper, are often seen more favourably and I lost out to a job because of this.” Alice, 18

“It’s not easy to get a job now as it is so competitive.” John, 22

Some responses highlighted how their BB volunteering experience has helped them on the path to a career, further education or training:

“Getting a job is difficult at the moment and so it’s important I think to stand out, have something different to other candidates; one thing I hope that will give me a better chance is by adding my BB experiences to my CV, the fact that I have gained my Queen’s Badge, Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and have done lots of volunteering. Hopefully this would be something an employer would look at and may help me in getting my first job when I finish college later this year.” George, 18

“Voluntary work helps you to gain responsibility and trust and develops your skills, which could lead to employment.” Steven, 19

“Whether it may be voluntary, part time or full time, having a job can improve your skills, life experiences and help boost your confidence in the working world.” Lyndsay, 18

Discuss this with your group

Why not consider discussing these issues in your Company? There is lots of great material out there which can be used both online and also in the Challenge Plus programme (see the Project ‘Preparing for Work’).

Share what your young people think, email us at: gazette@boys-brigade.org.uk

Continue the conversation on Twitter: @BBgazette #BBvoice

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