I recently met Nadia* a young person on a volunteering/work placement who had such an inspiring story to tell, I was left wondering how many young people out there are in similar situations but not as lucky to have found the push they need to move forward.
Sitting at her desk in an immaculate black suit with a funky diary bursting with notes and memos, with a beaming smile on her face, Nadia told me how passionate she felt about the opportunity she was given to start thinking about her career. She was obviously excited that someone could see the potential in her and her abilities. This picture was is stark contrast with what she was about to tell me about her not too distant past.
Sitting GCSEs early and getting young people to re-sit until they obtain a C grade, may be suitable for some but it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. The essential question is what are their needs and are they ready for it?
The key factor here is how are young people put forward for the exams? How are they assessed to ensure they are ready? What provision has been made to support them through the process? Is this going to affect their confidence levels if they fail? And what provision is being made for young people with language or learning difficulties and those for whom English is not their native language?
The chancellor had the opportunity last week to make a real difference to youth unemployment and kick start measures to help young people into jobs. Considering how current initiatives have failed to provide employment and more importantly improve employability for the under 24, a recognition of this fact and a bold, new course of action would have been very welcome. Yet there was no real action on tackling the current job crisis or addressing employability skills.
Youth unemployment has always been an issue, but now in these times of recession it has risen to stratospheric levels, with almost 1 million 16-24 year olds unemployed in the UK. This is not an issue we can take lightly. It is no secret that good education, housing and a decent job, have a bearing on how long and how well we live. The effects have recently been delved into with new research by Public Health England Longer Lives website. The research shows that inadequate education and long term unemployment increase the chances of social exclusion, bad health, mental health issues, relationship breakdown, it affects self-esteem and future employability, leading to crime and long term poverty, and the list goes on.