Young people today are at the centre of a huge international crisis. Youth unemployment rates continue to soar globally, and many young people are finding themselves lost within their own societies. Our voices are not being heard and our governments are failing to provide real solutions to deal with this pressing issue.
With the lack of opportunities facing us, some would argue that there really isn't much hope, whilst others say that young people have become lazy and lack motivation. I would argue that this isn't the case. We are the most educated generation to date, and we have never been more ready or able to work. The problem is that there just simply aren't enough opportunities to cater for everyone.
The increase in the number of people applying for jobs has made it all the more challenging. Employers' mentality has changed: GCSEs, A Levels and degrees no longer hold the value that they once did, nor does experience.
It has become apparent that there is a perception amongst employers that young people are not willing to work their way through a company, to earn their dues. The 'jobs for life' that our parents once enjoyed no longer exist. Entry-level jobs are now unpaid internships, and the amount of experience required to do a job that was once your foot in the door, is ridiculous. This leaves young people with vast amounts of experience and a solid degree finding themselves being over qualified for a role, leaving them alienated and lost in the mainframe of the benefit system.
Don't get me wrong, this is not the case with every employer. The problem is that the vast majority of them believe that investment in young people simply isn't worth it, or that it is too difficult. This doesn't provide much motivation to the generation that needs it the most. How can you expect young people to find work if they are going to continually face employment barriers, both in terms of actual jobs and in terms of media representation of the job prospects that are available to them.
It is time that we as a generation were given a break and a helping hand. We never asked for the current economic situation and we certainly didn't cause it. It is us, however, who are paying the price for the economic greed of older generations. This is unfair and unjust. Why should our future be placed on hold at the cost of others?
Government and business leaders have the responsibility to find a solution to this global problem. We are past the point of mere rhetoric. We must see a full contingency plan with the actual aim of getting young people back into work.
Businesses need to be encouraged to provide innovative opportunities aimed at young people, they need to be reassured that investing in our generation will in the long term benefit them. They should look to successful models that already exist, where young people have been placed (to great effect) at the centre of the company. For example, Ruby Pseudo Consultancy has been successful at placing young people into fulfilling positions. Why isn't this model being adopted more widely and being supported by the public and private sectors?
In return, our government needs to support those businesses that take the lead, whether it's through extending the 'Youth Contract', or through offering them extra cash incentives to get more young people into work.
Let it be known and heard that this is a generation full of talent patiently waiting to be given the opportunity to shine. You only have to take a look around the world to see what we are capable of achieving. We are full of ambition, entrepreneurial ideas and we are able to create broad scale change. We are eager and willing to work, we just need to be given the opportunity to do so.
The time has come for government and businesses to step up. The time has come to acknowledge the disservice that this country is doing to its young people. Invest in us, teach us, listen to us, believe in us. Don't blindly say that we are a wasted generation. Be embarrassed about that. Don't let our generation go down in history as the one you let slide. Neither history, or the young people of today, will forgive you for that.
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