Unemployed young people aren’t a “stubborn underclass”, they just need a break
At a time of record levels of youth unemployment, v has been working with some clever folk at the think-tank Demos to investigate what can be done to help the growing numbers of young people who are not in education, employment or training (who are often referred to as “NEETs”).
Experience Required argues that successive governments have totally misunderstood these young people. Traditionally they have often regarded NEETs as one hard-to-reach group – a ‘stubborn underclass’ who are socially excluded. In fact, the vast majority of NEETs are simply normal young people moving in and out of education and employment, who would benefit from a chance to prove what they can do.
As part of this work, the team went round the country to meet some young people who were NEET but have achieved more than they or anyone else thought possible through long-term volunteering. People like Nazma, a young Muslim girl, who took on a placement in the male-dominated area of construction, and shrugged it off as “a bit of a challenge”. Or Alex, who returned to the school she got kicked out of (where the teachers “probably didn’t really like me”) to volunteer her time as a learning support assistant. I certainly didn’t have guts to face up to situations like that when I was 17. Did you?
If you think you know “NEETs”, this video might just make you think again. v and DEMOS are now calling for a full-time volunteering programme at national level to help young people get the experience they need to succeed in the jobs market. Watch the video and let us know if you agree – especially if you are, or were, a “NEET”.