New NEET figures reveal need for varied routes to employment
The recent reports that one in four young people in some communities are not in education, employment or training (NEET) are depressing to say the least. At vinspired, we’ve helped more than one million young people get into volunteering, equipping them with new skills and the confidence to go out and reach their potential. Almost all of our volunteers (99%) have reported that their confidence has improved as a result of volunteering, and 90% believe they have a better chance of getting a job.
And yet, every day we hear about young people who are enthusiastic, energetic and doing great things for their communities, but who are struggling to find employment.
There is a clear absence of job opportunities, particularly at entry level, which is, realistically, not going to change until the economy as a whole moves back into a period of growth. But young people need to be engaged in meaningful activity now. We know that the longer young people are out of work, the lower their income will be in the future. Research also shows that youth unemployment can lead to crime and even a lower life-expectancy. As one young person puts it: “…many of us [feel] that young people are not given a chance to prove our potential. After a while this knocks down our emotions, self-esteem, capability and motivation. Many have tried very hard with sheer determination to get a job, but have not been given a chance to utilise our skills and talents.” What a terrifying vision of the future for a quarter of young people in parts of the country.
Funding and efforts need to be focused on new and varied routes to employment that are open to all young people, regardless of their geographical location. Young people need schemes like the new Teen Biz initiative to help them build their own enterprises - so they can actively contribute to the growth of their local economies. And we need more opportunities for those who want to use their skills in the voluntary and community sectors.
Young people will be the new generation of community and business leaders – they are the key to a strong society. Unless we can help them reach their true potential now, the long-term impact on communities across the country could be catastrophic.