The Blog

Capello Trusts in Youth Why Can't Business?

As youth unemployment hurtled over the one million mark this week so began the usual round of accusations and navel gazing about what to do about unemployment amongst 16-24yr olds.

As youth unemployment hurtled over the one million mark this week so began the usual round of accusations and navel gazing about what to do about unemployment amongst 16-24yr olds.

The bottom line is that, in common with previous England team selectors, UK PLC is not

currently prepared to invest the time and energy required in recruiting young people.

Recent accounts in the media suggest that more mature staff members are maintained over their younger co-workers, despite being more expensive, because they are more highly engaged and productive? I would argue that this is largely industry playing safe.

The betting shop that is the Stock Exchange dictates businesses and their recruitment policies. Rather than thinking long term, they think about the here and now. And in the here and now they don't have the time to take on new staff and invest in their training. As such younger people are increasingly becoming locked out of the employment market.

Clearly something needs to be done. Entrepreneurship has been lauded, as the key to solving Britain's economic woes and it's true that setting up your own business has never been easier, but not all 1.2 million unemployed young people can suddenly start up their own business.

That's ridiculous. Sure there is a buzz around start ups right now - who isn't an entrepreneur? - and it is an incredible way to channel ideas and innovate. In some ways, it has never been easier to set up your own business, so why not?

Because relying on entrepreneurs and assisting them with programmes like Start Up Britain, doesn't address the root cause of the problem - business mind set. Young adults still need a leg up from businesses. In short, they need skills that the current job market is depriving them of. The government tried to give young people that foothold in the ladder by announcing an apprenticeship scheme. But scratch at the surface and there are layers of red tape associated here, not to mention a pretty shocking wage for those that get onto the schemes. Yes, make the business accountable to its young recruit in terms of what s/he should expect as a result of an apprenticeship, but beyond that make participation as easy as possible for all concerned.

This is what Mr Capello has done and we are seeing some green shoots of recovery with the England football team.

Phil Jones, one of Capello's rising stars.

So if a conservative Italian in the last chance saloon can take a leap why can't business? The talent is out there even if we are suspicious of their social habits, ways of communicating and cultural tastes. This group has a massive understanding of today's technology and communication tools, which can be intimidating to those of us who missed the rise of the computer. Harnessed properly, inducted professionally and rewarded fairly young people can really make our businesses thrive.

Young people should not be demonised or simply encouraged to go for their 15 seconds of fame on some anaemic talent show. They should be told that they have some great skills to offer industry and that there are potential talent shows in every office and factory all over the country.

But will business follow Fabio's lead and trust young people to join the show?