First we brought up the job seekers Allowance Scheme for this is the lifeline for many young people.(link for details ) .
I suggested it was a hard start for young people who had just left school; Certainly extra help or mentoring was needed.
** M. had been on JSA. in his special case could not get any help. He mentioned he had spoken about his situation before.
** I asked E. to talk on his experience of teaching thedrop out youngsters. He did this very well and explained in his special school they had a machinery shop. But, because of bad behaviour, none of his colleagues would take the chance with youngsters in their charge, in this room, as they would certainly damage themselves on the machines. The teacher would then be blamed and their jobs would be in jepordy. However on the positive side, interested youngsters got to go to a motorcycle firm to work on engines and repairs and this was very popular.
** I then noted that, in any year, 6 of 10 did not get to university, even though the government had poured money into the universities. And of the 40% who got to university and obtained degrees, many did not get the jobs their qualifications ‘qualified’ them for – and here showed up a lot of ‘skills mismatch’ So, for instance, many with English degrees would find themselves in bar work, clerical, secretarial work or telephone cold calling.
And ,for those 60% of the young who tried the further education route the government has recently cut funding by 40%! For instance in Leeds there have been huge mergers of colleges. This was talked of as being to ‘save duplication’ but is it really to save money that cuts are made. Or is there a great chance at Leeds City College, follow the link for more details
**Government talk is now to take up the slack by increasing the number of apprenticeships and this ideais being pushed hard. A good idea, and no doubt, it will work well in countries with a good manufacturing base. ‘Guided apprenticeships’ can be lined up ready to fill the opportunities that exist. However here in the UK, where we build on service industries, the outlook is more uncertain; will there be sufficient real opportunities available?
There is further talk of ‘Elite Apprenticeships’ but these are for those who have good A level passes and begin to want an alternative to ‘ordinary university courses’ for ,as said before, the premium on these is now often lost. However Apprenticeships should be set for those who need help to move their skills up from more basic levels and not simply those already in the higher education stream.
In the theme for this forum we talked on the desperate situation for youngsters, how they needed guidance and hope to have any chance at all to get on jobs ladder.
Not just younger people, but all ages met this very difficult problem; where could courses be ound to follow with the chance of a job at the end? So the main theme of our Friendly Forums this year is to look at and share possible solutions. and this work will continue through the year. We will publish the work on our site and in print locally (when possible)
The meeting agreed with many of these thoughts but S. came back with ‘it is too much to do – there is far too much red tape to get thru, it’s far too ambitious’
I replied “Ok, but we must be ambitious and at least try for this change so desperately needed. I wondered how to demonstrate the level of action that was really needed. I took the example of George Fox who worked in the religious field. Here he succeeded in making practical changes in the methods of worship that were allowed; and all who felt a ‘mission’ are now allowed to join in these meetings and influence the work in progress – (for more follow link)
“To conclude now; we will make this dreadful problem much more transparent. It is so easily brushed under the carpet but we will bring it out and show just how important this finding of meaningful employment is; for it applies directly to the progress and wellbeing of the whole UK.
“Please stick with us through the project. It will be made to work as we use co-operation and sharing of views as our modus operandi.” Of course all who are interested in work are welcome to join us in our next meeting.