The Bad Luck Generation

By Maria Tadeo

UK youth unemployment rose to one million people, the most dramatic jobless rate increase in nearly 15 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

One in five young adults are now out of work and official figures show there were 1.02 million unemployed aged 16 to 24-year-olds between July and September 2011. The number of students also fell by 46,000 to 2.2m in September 2011.

A preoccupying set of figures that has sparked mounting concern for Britain’s so-called “lost generation”, a term now used to describe a new generation of jobless young British professionals with no occupation or no income.

Efforts to create new jobs in the private sector aimed at younger workers must be invigorated, as well as the funding of new learning schemes and vocational training courses, to prevent a new generation from becoming marginalised from the labour market.

According to figures released by the Prince’s Trust youth charity, the cost of youth unemployment and inactivity is approximately £20 million per week in job seeker’s allowance, and the productivity loss to the UK economy is estimated at £10m per day.

Most worryingly, the lack of work opportunities has been increasingly linked to rising crime levels for young people, already under the spotlight following the London riots, where a large majority of those who took part in the looting classified as neets- not in education, work or training.

Britain must act now.

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Test your entrepreneurial spirit: do an enternship

by Liza Jansen

When Rajeeb Dey was studying at Oxford University, he wanted to connect his fellow students with small businesses and startups. He noticed that many of his co-graduates played with the idea of starting their own business, but lacked the willpower and funding to actually launch an initiative. Therefore Mr Dey decided to launch a website to allow students to gain work experience at small start-up companies, how they go about being their own boss
and thus find out if entrepreneurship is for them:

The website was launched in 2009 and currently consists of a database of more than 3000 companies in more than 20 countries. Amongst the companies having used the website are Groupon, PayPal, Dragons Den and Firms currently using the service include fast growing companies like Huddle, Just Eat, Soundcloud and Skimlinks – not the typical recruit-from-campus firms.

The site also aims to narrow the gap between the demand for skilled tech talent and the number of graduates, as half of UK companies currently struggle to find graduates with adequate skills in science, technology, engineering and maths, a 2011 CBI survey has found.

Mr Dey was recently nominated the planet’s youngest global leader by the World Economic Forum.

Will these enternships allow London to become the world’s next Silicon Valley? Kimiko de Freytas went to Old Street, or London’s Silicon Roundabout, to find out if London has what it takes to become a global tech city.

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Fired staff launches campaign to win back jobs

By Caroline Green

Come the Revolution cafe in New Cross was once a thriving community cafe- it was led by Ray Woolford and staffed by local youths who were making their first step on the employment ladder.  But the economic downturn has badly affected the cafe’s clientele and some days profit was down to a mere £8. Mr Woolford was left no option but to shut the cafe.

Three staff members have launched a campaign to get the cafe up and running again and get their jobs back.  Bad Luck Generation investigates the chutzpah of the ex-workers.


The Old Vic Tunnels; helping youth unemployment through art

By Victoria Maigrot 

Enter the Old Vic Tunnels to centre stage, a company directed by Kevin Spacey that operates under the umbrella of the more widely recognised Old Vic Theatre.

Supporting a large group of 16-25 year olds working as producers, technicians, promoters and front of house staff, The Old Vic Tunnels Volunteer Scheme has had over 300 young people take part so far, learning from professionals to expand their skill set and produce sell-out shows.

“The Old Vic has always invested a great deal of energy and investment into building programmes that connect with the communities it serves…developing extensive educational initiatives to inspire young people,” stresses Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey.

For most people aiming to get a job in a creative industry, it is hard to compromise for an office job.

However, getting a job that will give that creative buzz is a serious challenge. Creative jobs are not the norm, and getting your foot on that all important employment ladder is tough.

Offering a unique performance space and providing opportunities for young people to be a part of an innovative and diverse arts venue, the Old Vic Tunnels gives some much needed inspiration for young people trying to break into the creative field.

Its success in bringing together like-minded people to swap stories and brain storm ideas led to the organisation winning the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award. Stopping not only at the engagement of communities, the organisation explores important issues such as war, consumerism, leadership, obesity and mental health via its productions.

“It’s a really inspiring example of the Big Society in action, giving young people responsibility, the opportunity to develop skills and confidence and to make a difference to their area at the same time,” said Prime Minister Mr Cameron, when presenting the award last year.

Being creative is enviable. I myself can hardly draw a stick man, sing a note in tune and was cast as the village shrew in the last play that I was in some 18 years ago. Music, theatre and art are all important aspects of the British economy that should not be forgotten. The British film industry for example has been hailed as a significant generator of income for our economy – sidelining theatre will not do the sector any favours.

Buy tickets now!

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Youth unemployment schemes need to be simplified says Perspective

By Victoria Maigrot

Excessive bureaucracy may be leading to increases in youth unemployment figures according to Perspective, a leading UK provider or education tracking software.

“Core-neets”, young people not in education, employment or training, have been on the increase for over 12 months. This group costs the country £4,600 per person a year in benefits and lost tax, according to the Local Government Association, LGA.

Perspective’s criticism of the over complicated nature of current youth unemployment schemes came following the recent release of figures from the LGA, in its “Hidden Talent” report.

LGA research found that the £15bn youth unemployment system put in play by the current government was “awash with different strategies and ages ranges”, making its deployment extremely complicated.

A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions said that tackling youth unemployment was an “absolute priority” for ministers.

But despite the Department for Work and Pensions pledging to provide an extra £1bn over three years to help young people, Perspective and the LGA are concerned that as it stands this money will not be effective.

“The growing number of core-neets is particularly frustrating for councils,” said David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people board.

“Councils have a responsibility to look after the welfare of all young people in their area but are restricted in their ability to do so by nationally driven approached that are failing to get to grips with local issues,” he continued.

The LGA’s research suggests that the average 13 to 24 year old receives support from a minimum of eight different national organisations that fund 33 employment schemes within 13 different age brackets.

“These schemes need to simplify their availability to encourage as many young people as possible to find work and reverse this growing trend,” stressed Paul Davis, managing director of Perspective.

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This week’s latest on youth unemployment

By Liza Jansen

It’s Friday May 4. Here’s a selection of this week’s news on youth unemployment for Britain’s Bad Luck Generation:

The International Labour Organisation released its annual world of work report, which showed that unemployment had risen in two-thirds of European countries since 2010 as austerity hit growth and jobs.

The Huffington Post on Tuesday published an article by the president of Logica UK urging young people, the government, communities and employers to up their game and work together in a cohesive, joined up approach to battle youth unemployment.

Deutsche Welle published an article on Wednesday on why the country is not coping with piling high unemployment rates. Hilmar Schneider of the Institute for the Study of Labor argues that the reason why Germany has a youth unemployment rate of “only” 10 percent is because of Germany’s dual education system. More than half of each age-group graduate from dual training programs in which they simultaneously earn academic credentials along with gaining work experience, rather than attending classes alone like in many other countries. The scheme also exists in Austria and Switzerland.

City & Guilds, Britain’s largest vocational exam board, warned that Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract is inefficient and bureaucratic, the Telegraph wrote on Thursday. The Deputy Prime Minister launched the Youth Contract scheme last month as a means to battle Britain’s youth unemployment crisis. The scheme awards businesses with more than £2,000 for every 25-year old taken on board.

ECB head Mario Draghi on Thursday called on European leaders to embrace a growth pact to end the region’s gripping crisis so that young workers do no have to bear the brunt of unemployment during an economic downturn.

Birmingham’s youth unemployment troubles is to blame to the city’s poor schooling, education Secretary Michael Gove told the Birmingham mail on Friday. Mr Gove believes that setting up new schools could prove to be a getaway to better qualifications. Currently 16,000 young people between 18 and 24 are seeking Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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Sell your face to pay off student debt

Why not sell your face as advertising space? The idea sounds like a joke for most people, but that did not hold Ed Moyse and Ross Harper from trying it out. The Cambridge graduates have already raised over £30,000. Liza Jansen went out to find out more for Bad Luck Generation.

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