Sadly this is just more empty political posturing. Even on its own terms the proposal is riddled with flaws and contradictions – see some of the young people’s immediate responses. And the weary discourse is one of sanction and denial- take benefits away from problematic young people, refuse to face the consequences of your own embrace of the neo-liberal market.
New free to view e-book.
Why young people can’t get the jobs they want and the education they need
Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley
Already referred to as a ‘Lost Generation’, after almost two years of Coalition government, young people now have even less to look forward to and are likely to end up worse off than their parents. This publication builds on, develops and updates arguments from our book Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education (2010) and, in particular, those in our previous e-pamphlet Why young people can’t get the jobs they want (2011)
Big Picture lecture January 11th Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley
Young people and the economic crisis in the King William Building Room 002, University of Greenwich
The current economic crisis has intensified the difficulties faced by young people in securing decent employment. Record numbers are without work, while many more have either given up searching or have withdrawn from the labour market – ‘hiding out’ in the hope that things can only improve. In addition, as increasing numbers, particularly graduates, find they are ‘overqualified and underemployed’ – stuck in jobs that fall well short of their expectations; schools, colleges and universities will continue to lose legitimacy, as a generation considers it has been short changed. Finally, as rents rise and mortgages become increasingly unobtainable, young people’s situation has become yet more precarious,
Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley are authors of Education make you fick, innit? (2007, Tufnell Press) Lost Generation? New Strategies for Youth and Education (2010, Continuum Books) and more recently, the e-pamphlet Why young people can’t get the jobs they want and what can be done about it (www.radicaled.wordpress.com). Drawing on arguments contained in these sources, on current research and analysis and against a background of inner-city riots and student demonstrations, the presentation will examine whether the ‘lost generation’ is able to find its way.
Other recent observations from Martin on the present situation facing young people include:
“Meanwhile, growing numbers of young people no longer see education as a way forward to productive and meaningful lives. Instead, formal learning (and teaching) becomes performance and pretence.”
Find below the latest post from Martin Allen of RADICALED.
Now well over 1 million (more than 1 in 5), youth unemployment will make headlines this week – yet measuring the extent of joblessness amongst young people is a complex process. To begin with these figures include up to 300,000 full-time students recorded as looking for work, but, as is the case with unemployment statistics generally, they do not include those who have given up seeking work and are now classified as ‘economically inactive’. A recent report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows youth unemployment rates ranging from 43% in Spain to 8.9% in Germany, but also argues that ‘growing frustration has pushed a large cohort of discouraged youth to drop out of the labour market altogether’. Include these and youth unemployment in the UK could be approaching one-in-three 18-24 year olds who are not in full-time education.
Neither are there reliable figures on the extent of youth ‘underemployment’, although surveys suggest that as many as 30% of graduates report they are in jobs that don’t require skill levels concurrent with their educational qualifications. In other words, while youth unemployment continues to be disproportionately high amongst those without or with few qualifications, it is just as likely that, rather than unskilled jobs disappearing, they continue to be filled by those with more than enough qualifications to do them.
The Coalition ended the Labour government’s Future Jobs Fund because it was too ‘bureaucratic’ but they have no specific strategies for responding to youth unemployment; only the Work Programme where private contractors compete to find unemployed people jobs and are ‘paid by results’. In a different economic climate where employers were desperate to recruit, there may be some merit in this, but without jobs being available in the first place, young people may wait months, even years, before they find proper employment.
With the economy not only faltering but now also facing another recession, eminent economist David Blanchflower, who as a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee persistently argued for interest rate cuts before the last recession started, has called for 100,000 more university places on the grounds that ‘You’re getting people into university and getting them off the streets.’ (THE 09/11/11)
As well as increasing the likelihood of educational institutional becoming car parks or warehouses, Blanchflower’s proposals are also based on the assumption that there will continue to be a shortage of university places. With up to £9,000 a year fees to pay back we cannot assume this will continue. Evidence suggests that many of the 200,000 unsuccessful applicants withdrew from clearing last year because they weren’t able to find places in Russell or campus universities considered more likely to be able to deliver in the jobs race.
One thing increasingly clear is that many young people considering the ‘apprenticeship’ route into work will likely think again – unless they are able to gain a place at BT or Rolls Royce which even Education Secretary Michael Gove admits ‘are harder to get into than Oxford’. Coalition ministers now have egg on their faces over claims that they have already met their targets for creating additional apprenticeship places. Reports leaked to newspapers and independent research from the Institute for Public Policy Research show just 10 per cent of apprenticeships are going to youngsters aged 16 to 18. Instead, around 40 per cent go to people over the age of 25 while those going to workers over 60 have increased nearly tenfold. There’s also clear evidence employers are simply repackaging existing jobs and claiming the money.
Even in more prosperous times, youth unemployment has been higher than for the population as a whole. With government downgrading growth forecasts, in response to the Eurozone crisis, the situation facing young people is dire.
Download e-pamphlet Why young people can’t get the jobs they want
Other pertinent links:
In this piece Martin Allen argues that teachers and their organisations need to engage with a scenario, within which being unemployed has little to do with so-called employability. So too youth workers involved in programmes, which start from a spurious notion of individual adequacy – the young people lack the skills, confidence etc. – need to take a reality check.
The 80 000 increase in unemployment for the period April to June (taking the total to 2.51 million and 7.9%) intensifies the pressure on a bedraggled Coalition government . Much of this increase is the result of rises in youth unemployment – 20.8% of 16 to 24 year olds (973,000) are officially out of work. Up 78,000 from the three months to April 2011 and likely to hit a million by the end of the year. The number of unemployed 16 to 17 year olds increased by 1,000 on the quarter to reach 203,000 while the number of unemployed 18 to 24 year olds rose by 77,000 to reach 769,000.
In line with international guidelines, people in full-time education are included in the youth unemployment estimates if they are looking for employment and are available to work. Excluding people in full-time education, there were 709,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to July 2011, up 91,000 from the three months to April 2011. Equally concerning, the number of young people not in full-time education but considered ‘economically inactive’ is also up - now just under 800 000. Though many people in this category are not able to work, it includes those who have ‘given up’ looking for employment. With 25% of economically inactive people as a whole saying they ‘want a job’ – real levels of unemployment are much higher than official rates. This is particularly true with young people.
Publication of the unemployment figures have coincided with the announcement of plans for strike action in defence of pensions by the public sector unions. The ONS figures (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/index.html) show the largest ever recorded fall in the number of those in public sector jobs (employment in the public sector fell by 111 000 between March and June) and the number of people working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job is at its highest ever – 1.28 million. There has also been a 40% increase in the number of temporary workers unable to find a permanent job since the recession began. (http://www.ippr.org/uploadedFiles/pressreleases/Part-time%20and%20temporary%20work%20technical%20briefing.pdf)
These labour market changes mean that public sector unions need to build careful alliances and link their pension demands to broader social objectives so as to maintain mass support for their actions. Nowhere is this more so than in education where, as young people pile up qualifications but are unable to secure the sort of employment they deserve; teachers and their organisations must help promote alternatives.
Martin Allen at radicaled: rethinking education, economy and society
I’ve got something of a hangover from imbibing too many words over the past few days. Thus I’m cautious about posting too many links and inducing a similar state in visitors to our site. This said, there are some illuminating pieces at odds with the prevalent authoritarian dross and some from unlikely sources. And, of course, you don’t have to binge-read like me! You can partake in moderation.
* Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley reflect Most young people did not riot, but can the ‘Lost Generations’ find their way?
They open by arguing that, there is more than one ‘lost generation’. We have seen at least two in the past months as young people have taken to the streets. Students have protested against fee rises and now a hard core urban youth have taken the stage. On both occasions, the media have focussed on the violent scenes – clashes with police and attacks on property, claiming student protesters were infiltrated by anarchists and that rioters were ‘classless’; but these two groups would seem to represent very different constituencies.
* The Daily Telegraph isn’t necessarily the first place you would go to find a scathing critique of ruling class hypocrisy and amorality, but Peter Oborne, its chief political commentator doesn’t pull his punches.
* Roy Ratcliffe takes ‘Middle England’ to task ,arguing,
The reaction of middle England to the riots, however, proves that this sector is incapable of understanding any other point of view than that stemming from its own immediate self-interests. Middle England managed to eliminate from short-term memory the repeated indignity of ‘stop-and-search‘, overlooked previous ‘deaths-in-custody‘, quickly blanked out past and recent ‘police-corruption’, and chose to ignore the earlier suspicious shooting of a black youth. During the week, middle England also failed to call for a much needed re-distribution of wealth. Neither did its representatives suggest the creation of jobs in the areas of greatest deprivation. No one from middle England called for the reinstatement of youth clubs and youth projects or the re-introduction of free university education. Instead middle England, left, right and centre bayed for the blood of a small group of rebellious, misguided lumpen proletariat it has itself helped to create.
Read in full, Middle England bays for blood
* Nick Smith provides a detailed eye-witness account of his experience, Walworth Road: Only Fools, No Horses, capturing more of the contradictions than most of the coverage. I’ve pinched a couple of his photos. He begins, fI’m no writer. I’m not particularly good at it and it doesn’t come easy to me, but after my journey home from work today (8th August 2011), I feel the need to share my experience on the looting (especially as I’ve read a lot of rubbish both in the press and online) and so have started this blog. I find writing can be a good outlet for anger and at the moment I’m feeling pretty angry.
* You’ve probably seen this article, but it’s interesting how many people have said it’s the best thing thus far they’ve read.
Just to reinforce a link posted by Patrick Ainley, you will find a carefully argued and researched piece,
on the Radicaled site.
The current generation of young people are the most qualified but the most underemployed generation ever. Meanwhile, a third of men and a fifth of women between the ages of 20-34 still live with their parents – in most cases because they cannot afford otherwise. This e-booklet explains why so many young people are unable of get the jobs and the lives that they want. It challenges claims about the growth of the ‘knowledge economy’ and questions the legitimacy of education programmes designed to ‘raise standards’. With the new Coalition government and most policy makers offering almost nothing, save ‘apprenticeships without jobs’ for the masses and ‘internships’ for ‘the squeezed middle’, the pamphlet offers some preliminary proposals to start addressing the problem.
It is available as a free e-pamphlet. Well worth spending some time with.
Doug Nicholls has been in touch with the following significant message:
Once again the scourge of mass youth unemployment has returned. I did not think it would happen again after the devastating effects of the 1980s.
As you will know CYWU is now part of Unite the Union. Unite is organising a national march for jobs on May 16th in Birmingham. See attached leaflet and transport details from all parts of the country are on www.unitetheunion.com.
Youth workers have organised a special event for under 25s on the day. Please see attached details. A further leaflet will follow. This will take place in The Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Birmingham where the march ends from 2.30-4.00pm. There will be food and refreshments. It will give young people an opportunity to express their hopes and fears in this terrible economic situation and their voices will be listened to by MPs and leading union figures. There should be an opportunity to make a DVD of the event and concerns raised also.
Not only is there a very high youth unemployment rate, but support services for young people are now being cut badly in many parts of the country.
I write to appeal for your support for this event generally and the youth event more particularly. Please promote it to your constituents. Please declare your active support for the event if you are able. Please encourage youth groups to attend and help make a difference. It would of course particularly assist if you are able to promote it to Midlands based constituencies of yours.
We want this to be a community event. We want this to be a young people’s event. The late notification is indicative of the urgent situation our economy and young people are in.
Please publicise, find attached leaflet.youth-event-may-16th-1
Meanwhile, children’s workers employed by Coventry Council have threatened to hold a strike over feared job losses.
Following a meeting on 29 April with the union Unite, staff in the authority’s children’s and family education service said they were prepared to take industrial action over proposed council budget cuts.
Unite’s national secretary for community and youth workers Doug Nicholls said: “We are determined that democracy and good sense will prevail. These jobs and services will not go. Skilled professionals and children’s support will not be thrown on the scrap heap along with our manufacturing and public services.
Whilst next week, staff in Rhondda Cynon Taff‘s youth service are set to hear the final proposals for a major restructuring of the service, which is designed to plug a £4.8m hole in council finances.
Earlier this year, the council revealed plans that would see six centres closed, four merged into two and four youth clubs transferred into schools in the Welsh Valley region. Grants paid to voluntary youth providers will also be reviewed to ensure there is no duplication of service.
Dawn Rees, branch secretary of the Community and Youth Workers’ Union, part of Unite, said: “We are going through a massive restructure with no real consultation. We are being told ‘you like it or lump it’. The big concern is that the cuts and closures will be detrimental to the service and leave some areas with no youth provision at all.”
Further detail at CYPN