Tuesday, 2 March 2010

"Lost Generation" of Young People

By Sunil Patel

The recession could lead to a ‘lost generation’ of people who are feeling increasingly ‘lonely, rejected, and desperate’, according to a study released by a youth charity.

Joblessness has led to a destructive impact on young person’s health and self-esteem, according to research commissioned by the Prince’s Trust last week.

The young were most vulnerable to the adverse effects of the economic downturn, with those unemployed less happy with family life and their friendships than those who were in work.

Leading economist Professor David Blanchflower commented on the report, “Unemployment has a knock-on effect on a young person's emotional stability and overall wellbeing.

“The longer the period a young person is unemployed for, the more likely they are to experience this psychological scarring.”

One in ten of those surveyed said that mass youth unemployment had driven them to a drugs or alcohol.

Almost 2.5 million people are currently out of work, according to December unemployment figures.

Responding to the Prince’s Trust study, Employment Minister Jim Knight said: "We know from the recessions of the 80s and 90s that long-term unemployment can affect young people not just while they are out of work but for many years to come.

"That's why we have taken action so that youth unemployment in this country is below the EU average, and why we are guaranteeing work or training for every young person on the dole over 6 months.

The number of unemployed 16-24 olds passed a record figure 952,000 in the three months to October, with one in five people in the UK without a job, the biggest jobless total since 1993.

And there was further misery for those with fewer or no qualifications as they have been forced further down pecking order due ever increasing numbers of graduates swamping the job market.

Following the research, The Prince’s Trust announced a new campaign aimed at reaching out to young people whose employment prospects have been dashed by the recession.

The ‘undiscovered’ campaign calls for government and businesses to raise £1m a week to support thousands of unemployed and disadvantaged young people.

Professor Blanchflower, who contributed to the report, said: “These young people are not lost, they are undiscovered.

“With support and training for young people from organisations like the Prince’s Trust, we can ensure that today’s unemployed do not become tomorrow’s unemployable.”

Last month the Government announced a package of measures designed to help address some of the debilitating effects of the recession on young people.

The Department for Work and Pensions published their response aimed at ‘Building Britain’s Recovery’.

Under the scheme, there will more targeted support for 16-17 year-olds establishing closer links with Connexion (career) services through Job Centre plus.

And a ‘January Guarantee’ of an employment place (NEET) and maintenance grant to go with it, for those 16-17-year-olds not in education or employment.

Other proposals in the white paper include the Young Person’s Guarantee for 18–24-year-olds that, if they are still unemployed after six months, they will be offered a job, training or internship.

And graduates would also be offered a guaranteed internship or other targeted support if they had been unemployed for six months.

A spokeswoman for Business Enterprise Regulatory Reform said: “Government cannot do it on their own.

“We are working with businesses to get as many young people into work and even if they cannot be offered employment they would be guaranteed work experience or offered an apprenticeship.”

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