In the last month we have heard the news that youth unemployment fell by around 20,000 in the three months up to May. There is clearly a long way to go but people seem to be feeling a bit more optimistic about the job market for the first time in years. It feels great to know that more people are finding work and gaining the experience, not to mention self-confidence, that they need. However, while finding a job can be a great boost, especially if someone has been struggling to gain employment, it doesn't mean that happiness automatically follows.
When I signed up to be a Games Maker last summer, I wasn't thinking beyond the amazing opportunity to be part of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The experience has been so much more to me than a summer of great memories - it's given me the chance to earn a nationally recognised qualification, boost my employability and get back on the career ladder.
Last week was Adult Learners Week, a time to encourage adults from all walks of life to keep on learning - even busy working mums like me! When I left school, I thought all that was behind me, but my apprenticeship has taught me all kinds of new skills and made a big difference to myself and my family.
when it comes to adult learners making their aspirations a reality, there is a problem. People just don't realise how qualified they already are. A key factor that holds many potential adult learners back when considering pursuing a new qualification is that they don't appreciate that there is value in experience.
The most common perception is that this means staying at school until 17, which will suit some young people, but the opportunities are broader than that. From 2013, Year 11 pupils will be required to continue in education or training for at least one more year, but this doesn't mean they will have to stay in school.
Put simply, people with qualifications generally earn more money and then choose to live in affluent areas. People with fewer qualifications generally earn less money and then choose to (or are forced to) live in poorer areas. So we get concentrations of skills. This is particularly true within cities.