By Alvin Carpio and Ben Powell.
As part of our series of blogs introducing the Young Fabians Policy Commissions 2013 Alvin Carpio and Ben Powelllook at Britain’s continuing problem with youth unemployment.
Across Britain, one million young people are unemployed. Long spells of unemployment early on in a person’s work history can have long term scarring effects making them less employable. There is also lost productivity.
Dealing with youth unemployment is important to both our economy and social stability. We need young people to have work experience early in order to prepare them for life in the labour market after compulsory schooling. We also need to deal with it to avoid the sort of events we saw unravel in summer August 2011.
We have been called the lost generation, the scarred generation, the hopeless generation. We are not generation y, but instead generation why is it so hard to get a job?
Of course it would be wrong to paint a generic brush over all young people, in the same way that was done during the riots where all young people were deemed to be criminals. Also, we have to remember that in the 1970s, the young people growing up during Margaret Thatcher’s government were also called the lost generation too.
Still, this is an issue that affects all young people, including Young Fabians. There are many young people who are overqualified and many who are underemployed. Many young people find themselves with a degree that they were promised would make it easy to get a job. For some, their degrees are now worthless, especially for those who graduated from the new universities as the top 2000 companies in Britain mainly recruit from the old universities like Oxbridge and Durham. Some Young Fabians will be unemployed themselves.
Dealing with youth unemployment now matters because rates were increasing even before the recession. This points to structural issues and suggests that even if we were to return to growth, it would still be a problem.
The commission will consider three main questions. Firstly, why is youth unemployment so high? Secondly, how is youth unemployment affecting our members and their communities? Thirdly, what can we do to respond to youth unemployment? We’d love you to take part in the discussion and we hope you’ll join us for the commission’s events.
Alvin Carpio and Ben Powell are co-chairs of the Young Fabians Policy Commission on youth unemployment. You can sign up to be involved in the Young Fabians Policy Commissions here – http://bit.ly/11ulMLw.