Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Jobs and Numbers

Sometimes numbers can dazzle, sometimes they tell a story that causes real concern. Adventure (or exploration) and independence, are essential parts of growing up and growing into work. These are some of the crucial elements being denied Scottish young people because they cannot find real job opportunities, opportunities that give them experiences that foster a sense of purpose and responsibility.

The number of unemployed young people is a figure which is so great that it’s hard to grasp. Yet for each individual, there is a story to be told. Countless stories of the difficulty of finding employment and the knock-on effect of unemployment amongst a whole generation of young people could fill every page of today’s newspapers, and more.

The continued trend of the high numbers of young people out of work is very concerning. And yesterday, yet another survey showed that in spite of recent improvements, Scotland’s general employment outlook is lagging behind the rest of the UK. Compounded with today’s labour market statistics, this demonstrates that this is a continuing issue which isn’t going to go away in the near future.

The problem here is not just the wages that are not being earned, but the opportunities that are being denied.  Unemployed young people are not being granted the opportunity to experience a working life and all the challenges and rewards that this presents.  The first few years of a working life are often the most formative, building self-confidence, developing new skills and discovering talents, as well as the offering the chance to gain experience of working alongside people you might otherwise never have the chance to meet.

For thousands of young people, the prospect of developing and maturing as an adult and as a citizen is being denied. This surely has to be the real worry behind the headline-grabbing figures.  The sheer number of young people who are out of work is a very real demonstration of the reality of today’s so-called austerity measures.  But what this will mean for the rest of society in years to come, when this generation’s collective out of work experience makes its very real impact, is far more difficult to gauge.

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