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Could Creative Roles and Self-Employment Solve the Crisis of Youth Unemployment?

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According to the Labour-led alliance, it is a year since youth unemployment rose above a million for the first time in history. With shocking heights of unemployment it is important to take a serious look at where the real opportunities may lie for young people. In a time where there is a growing need for creativity and rapid cultural change, more young people could be looking forward to promising careers in creative roles and/or entrepreneurship.

Statistics from DCMS (Department for Media, Culture, and Sport) reveal that 1.5 million people are currently employed in the creative industry or in creative roles in other industries, which accounts for 5.1% of the UK's employment. Statistics from Creative and Cultural Skills, 2010 have also shown that self-employment is extremely common in the creative and cultural industries which are mainly made up of small businesses - approximately 65,000 businesses. Although figures vary based on the actual sector worked in, 44% of people in these industries are self-employed compared to 13% in the UK as a whole. In the UK, England was reported as employing the highest concentration in the creative and cultural industries with over 690,000 workers (88%).

Since the rise in youth unemployment we have seen emergence of a large number of schemes and organisations which aim to support young people in entrepreneurship and get their creative juices flowing. The 'Business in You' campaign which is a partnership between private enterprise and the government has been very successful in highlighting the support available for young and budding entrepreneurs. Young Enterprise also revealed that through the support from their organisation alone 26,000 15-19 year olds managed to launch 2,000 new ventures between September 2011 and June 2012. The Princes Trust also sees an application of 3,500 young people each month for their Enterprise Programme.

With 40% of unemployed people in Britain aged between 16 and 25 (Labour's Youth Jobs Taskforce) there is a real opportunity for young people to pursue creative industry roles or develop their own start-ups. Already there are a great number of statistics derived from many organisations which indicate youth interest in self-employment and also that of working in the creative industries, which is wonderful news for the industry in our economy.

Despite the opportunities and the resources that becoming available, there is still a lot to tackle when it comes to youth unemployment. As a society I believe that what we are experiencing is more than anything is a lack of understanding and knowledge of the help available for youngsters. We need to make information more accessible and raise awareness of companies that are in the position to provide guidance to the youth because at this current time we are instead focusing mainly on the problem, which will in turn never allow us to offer a real solution.

As director of the social enterprise Enpower C.I.C. - a scheme which aims to increase youth employability within the creative sector - I am also a young person who has utilised opportunity. As an organisation we are not only providing youngsters with the support to do the same but we are also providing companies with the ability to help in a way that benefits their business in the long run. In providing recruitment consultancy, talent management consultancy and project management services to organisations - particularly creative sector businesses, we hope to provide the industry with the means to utilise the expertise of a new generation of talent and help them rethink the way they define their workforce. The industry knowledge built through such working relationships is invested into skills training development and engagement initiatives for young people.

Through this approach we are tackling the problem from two angles, building better connected relationships and as a result offering a real solution.

For more information about Enpower C.I.C please visit: http://www.enpowerservice.co.uk/