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Getting young people (back) to work

by on September 20, 2012

The British Government is on record as identifiying youth unemployment as a key concern so it’s interesting to read a report published yesterday by the House of Commons Work & Pensions Committee, as discussed here by HR Magazine.

Employers are apparently confused by all the tools at their disposal to address this issue. The report calls for greater clarity, co-ordination, simplification and targetting in respect of these tools. It also, more controversially, calls for priority, saying that ‘All employers need to make youth employment top of their agenda’.

From → In the news

2 Comments
  1. Paula Fitzgerald permalink

    It would appear that employers are “confused” about a lot of things, whether is youth unemployment or older workers employment and retention, which leads me to ask what role are their strategic HR people playing at present? are these senior HR people robustly equipped to deal with these topics and have those important conversations with their senior board of directiors and line managers?

  2. Paula Fitzgerald permalink

    OK, I am going to be controversial. A number of (Government and private sector) initiatives would appear to have been put in place already to alleviate UK youth unemployment. They come in the shape of training schemes, internships, work experience schemes, etc. Actions, to the best of my current knowledge, that have not been extended to the growing older population.

    However, I keep hearing rather loud complaints from the youth that, in spite of the above, they remain unemployed. However, are these youngsters unemployed or unemployable?

    The youth, besides being young, need to be able to offer ‘something’ to employers.. to be employable. If they have dropped out of school with little or no qualifications and have done nothing since, not even voluntary work, my question is: How do they expect to be able to appear ‘attractive’ to potential employers? The answer I always hear is: “but I have applied for 500 odd jobs and still can’t get anything..” my question usually follows: “Have you tried doing some volunteering whilst on benefits?” the immediate answer follows: “Nope..”…and then ‘yours truly’ enquires…Why not? [silence.. usually follows]

    I am sure there are exceptions to the above. I am not suggesting for second this is every single case. I am sure there are some under 24s with previous work experience and undergraduate degrees that still can’t find jobs in the current market environment. However, I would strongly encourage them to, at least, do voluntary work (whilst they search for the role of their dreams) or take a step or two down from their ideal job to get on the work-ladder. Alternatively, I would robustly encourage them to remain in education and work as hard as they can to get the best possible marks/degrees. It is the best investment they could make in their respective futures. Even if they find a job today, in a few years time they will be required to go back to formal education and prepare for the next step in the career ladder. One way or another, they will find themselves ‘limited’ (if they dropped out from education at an early stage) and they will require this more formal education to move on in their careers. Of course, they do not know this yet, they are young, and it does not matter how many times you repeat yourself like a broken record…Eventually, however, they will find this out themselves.

    But going back to finding work, the youth must understand that – usually – you do not start as an ‘assistant manager’. We all had to start at the bottom of the pile and work hard to move forward. The Olympics and Paralympics should have demonstrated that people who work hard get selected to be part of their national teams but they do not always win medals. Only the people who are extremely talented and have put incredible amounts of hard work and sacrifices, and have that little bit extra, may get the medals… on a very good day.

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