Against the wishes of every child, ever, let’s start with a test:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Do you work in the NEET sector?
  3. What’s my life story?

Sometimes YOU aren’t the best source of information. Here’s why…

Young people leaving school will most definitely need help getting a job – even university graduates are struggling to find work in their desired fields. What if, like me, you didn’t go to University and get that much sought after degree? What prospects do you have? I don’t want to end up like Gus from Eastenders!

At NPC’s event Can We Prevent A ‘Lost Generation’?Rhian Johns from Impetus-PEF quoted some astounding figures that  show most employers won’t even think about employing a young person. A survey of 1,001 employers carried out in 2010 found that only 35 per cent would consider 16–17-year-old school or college leavers for vacancies; and only 57 per cent would consider 18–19-year-old leavers. As someone who spent a lot of time as a NEET statistic, I am not surprised by this revelation. The issue for me is, if organisations are reluctant to give young people the chance to work and gain that experience, how do they move up the employment ladder?

What I really took away from the event was something Abraham Lawal observed. As a young ambassador of the Young Lambeth Cooperative he asked why, at an event focusing on helping young people, were we surrounded almost entirely by the older generation? The biggest mistake organisations can make is to exclude the demographic they’re trying to help—these young people should be at the heart of everything you do.

NEET refers to young people not in education, employment or training. At too many discussions about the subject we miss the key ingredient. We get the educational representatives, the employment and training organisations but, oddly, nobody invites the young people? According to the Journey to Employment report, in February 2013, that group totalled 1.37 million—maybe that’s where we’re going wrong.

We heard from Councillor Rachel Heywood about Xcite, a programme that worked to find employment for ex-offenders, and from Abraham about pioneering youth-led services launching this Saturday in Lambeth as part of YLC—so there are some very effective interventions going on.

But I think I’ll end by asking you to refer back to the title: Who are you calling lost? By not engaging with my generation, maybe you’re going in the wrong direction…bruv.

 

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