Dealing with youth unemployment in the classroom

Written by Mike Beesley | Blog | Posted 14/03/2013

Over the past 18 months there has been a continued outcry across the country over the high levels of youth unemployment.

It is encouraging to see that despite all this posturing and worrying (along with the outpouring of media coverage) that government figures show that as of the end of 2012, there was an additional 60,000 16-24 year olds in work compared to the previous year. However, the fact remains that nearly 1 million in that age bracket remain jobless (approximately one in five), and the figures have fluctuated madly within the past year. For example, there were 11,000 more young people unemployed in the last quarter of 2012 than in the preceding quarter.

The statistics show a disappointing figures for the results of the governmentís job scheme for young people; it might not be reaping the necessary long-term benefits. Unsurprisingly, the majority of young people still on the dole are mainly concentrated in the poorer districts of our cities and rural areas. The recent regional breakdown of unemployment figures in the North East and West find one in 10 young people out of work. In the South West, this figure significantly reduces to about 1 in 20.

At RSG we have helped bring to life a unique competition called the Bristol Young Student of the Year Awards, which looks to support employability training, work placements and sponsorships within local schools in the Bristol area.

As we head into the finals later this month, the standard and level of accomplishment these young teams of people have achieved undeniably proves how much potential we are wasting by not allowing young people to enter the workplace.

Despite our efforts however, we are still not reaching the people who need it the most. Many of the schools and students that would have benefited most from the competition dropped out in the first stages. It will take much harder work and dedication to reach those young people who donít believe they can do it, but we canít make it happen alone; the education providers, although they are focusing on trying to teach lessons in difficult circumstances, must open their minds (and curriculum!) to the fact that without employability and commercial awareness being taught in schools, less advantaged school leavers are going to find themselves continually at the back of the queue.

I wish all those who have worked hard and done magnificently well by reaching the finals of our competition all the very best of luck, and, as we take this project forwards, that we start to see things changing within the classroom and beyond into the workplace. Otherwise youth unemployment will continue to be a thorn in our society and economy for many years to come.

Mike Beesley, CEO, RSG

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