Posts Tagged ‘Young People’

Age is a great mystery, not the historical ages such as the Romans but the gap between those in their 60s and those in their 20s. Sometimes it seems like it’s just around the corner whether looking forward or looking back, something that gives the canyon between the two a certain romanticism, well that and greeting cards philosophy of everyone singing with each other. Other times it seems like both sides could at any minute amass two armies, one armed with wooden canes and enough medicines to create biological weapons, the other armed with knives and enough cider to satisfy a redneck. But despite the differences one thing is true of both sides of the age war, they both are scorned and discriminated against by everyone in the middle… but only with one side calling it Ageist.

If you were to refuse to hire someone for being over 60 or to claim they smelled of kippers, you’d no doubt land yourself in court for being ageist. Even if it was for legitimate reason such as needing to carry heavy loads or have fast hand eye coordination. It’s because its viewed that acknowledging the bleeding obvious in many cases suggests you have some issue with a particular group and thus will not consider them on those grounds. Strange then that it is ok to use this exact method of discrimination against young people, by which I mean under 25s, when you would be harassed and face jury were you to it against ethnicities, sexuality, gender, religions or the pension gang.

Were as claiming a woman can’t do something because she might get pregnant or not have the psychical strength, or that a black man might cause you trouble with the brain-dead skinheads in the pub is seen as unacceptable, it is strangely common practise to claim a young person can’t do something because they’ve never been given the chance to learn and prove themselves. It’s quite common to see this, the workforce who won’t see a state pension being refused an opportunity, all because of the dreaded “E” word, experience.

There is more to this form of discrimination than just “oh they lack experience, they need to at least done this job for two years before they can get an job that used to be for people straight from school”. Due to the actions of the drug-fuelled youth who spend all day partying and having sex (hang on that started in the 60s didn’t it?), all young people have been tarred with this brush of “trouble” as shown in the conversation that one reporter over heard in April: “They have no work ethic,’ he said. ‘They are interested only in life outside work. They can’t wait to get away at the end of the day.

“She couldn’t speak, either, not properly, and when I admonished her she said, “It’s my personality. My accent is part of my culture.”

The thing is though, other than the fact this is hardly new it did start in the 1950’s, why would you expect someone to be excited about a job they either don’t really want to do, and see it as purely for money or in the case of many students trying to break into areas of Fashion and Media have to do for no money.

A standard two-week placement with a media company in London, unpaid like so many other placements, can cost the young person over £400 to undertake. Would you get excited about forking out a large sum of money to work for free only to be told at the end of it all whilst applying for full time work “you still don’t have enough experience”?

The simple case is young people are seen as free labour, as we’ll take on a lot of work for no money and you can always refuse to pay bring in someone else and still claim they lack experience until they’ve done around 40 of these placements.

It is of course more than just employment where this discrimination lies. As with people accusing elderly people of being bad drivers, many people claim the same of young drivers. Some in fact going so far as to claim you shouldn’t let 17-24s drive at night (because of course on your 25th birthday all the secrets of the world suddenly unlock like Doctor Who opening that fob watch).

Yes there are “boy racers” out there, and there are some teenagers who will cause trouble, but there are people in their 30s who cause trouble in a similar way, just look at Millwall football fans. And most of the programming aimed at young people is enough to make you want to gouge your own eyes out just to have something to throw at the television. But these, as always, are a minority. The vast majority of young people in Britain enjoy the same well-written comedies as the rest of us, and more of them listen to Radio 2 than Radio 1. But still they’re lumped together and treated as essentially a minor Slave Labour force, having to work hours and hours more than the rest of the population for no money and very little acceptance or understanding.

The simple facts of the matter is that Age Discrimination is a Two way street, and people need to start realising that you have to treat young people fairly regardless of what’s said on TV. If you want just one reason why, given the hugely ageing population, just think who’s going to be funding all the pensions and powering the economy in 10 years time, and they may well remember how the now retired treated them with contempt… all I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if euthanasia becomes common.

Adam Walker

Advertisements

Everyone has memories of sitting an exam, the hours spent awake reading books that most sane people don’t know exist such as “The history of Chinese mushrooms in the 12th centaury”, and the days spent sweating your entire body weight in sheer terror. All that effort only to find that when you actually sit the test what you were told to study has changed, and now you need to know about Japanese mushrooms in the 14th centaury. Whether it be a boring hour long exam in a soulless hall dressed in grey uniforms or sitting behind the wheel of a 1.2 litre hatchback driving through crowds of school kids who clog up the high street.

It's a Car

a typical learn to drive car

I now find myself in such a position along with thousands of other people about to sit their practical driving test in the next month, as come October it’s all change again, and all in the name of being able to claim that we’re 0.0001% less likely to die.

Overall the changes are rather meaningless, as there are only two major changes to the usual pomp and circumstance of the event. These being a new 10-minute “independent driving” section and shrinking the number of slow speed maneuvers from two to one.  Slow speed driving usually consisted of being asked to perform two of the following: Turn in the road, parallel parking or reversing round a corner. In a way this is a bonus as reversing round a corner is as useful to driving as smearing custard on your legs is to tanning, seeing as the closest you get is reversing out of a parking space at a strip club in the early hours.

Driving Standards Agency Logo

The real fuss for people is this independent driving section, which the Driving Standards Agency describes as “not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going”. Despite the fact its obvious that if your test takes place in your home town, your more likely to go on instinct, prior knowledge and ability to navigate by landmarks such as the pub than bothering with road signs.

Although these changes were implemented by a bunch of grey-haired pensioners in suits sitting 50 floors above London it’s the front-end examiners and instructors who now need to change what they teach to meet the new requirements.  So we spoke to one, or more specifically my one, who said of the new text: “I don’t feel that would be the definite changes that will make safe driving, it’s going to make it harder for some people, and it’s probably the wrong people its targeting to make it harder for”.

But if these changes won’t do it, then what will, the instructor (who is terrified of having her name appear in print) talked of the need to have a series of follow up tests, to make sure that the platoons of tracksuit clad soldiers armed with their sonic stereos and razor sharp baseball caps continue to behave until they lose all sense of individuality and melt into a single greyish soup on the floor.

When asked how often these “Follow ups” should be undertaken, the response given was: “In my view over the first two years especially. They’ve got if you get six points in the first two years they can revoke your license, I don’t feel that’s enough of a fear or enough of a factor in trying to keep people safe because they’re still going to exactly what they want to do at that point.

“I’m of the belief that with the new photo card license, you need to reapply for that every ten years, its too easy then to get your license back, after the ten years, without having any form of follow-up to show you can still drive in a safe manner, I personally believe that once you got your license there should be some sort of test or follow-up tests every few years to make sure your still safe.”

You could ask if the system is so badly set out, why haven’t instructors kicked up a fuss, simple: “There have been consultations done and very few driving instructors do actually fill in any consultation forms”

In other words instructors like taxi drivers and learners like myself, suffer from shout a lot then scratch self-syndrome.

The Today program on Radio Four also raised the issue of driving, citing inexperience (something that actually makes sense) as the cause of crashes. Although driving at 70 miles and hour along a three-lane motorway when you’ve never been on one before passing your test might also be a factor. Unless your Welsh that is as, if Cardiff research get their way, anyone under 24 won’t be allowed to drive at night or with their friends. Employing the religious method of blaming all for the actions of a few, such as blaming the 20 million young people for the actions of 300.

Now it might well be that they claim under 24s shouldn’t be allowed to drive at night as they’re inexperienced and thus more likely to crash in the dark, if this is true will someone please tell me what on your 25th Birthday suddenly and magically makes you capable of driving on tight country roads in the rain at night with the only light being from your headlights. Otherwise forgive me if I continue to believe you have to drive at night with an instructor or alone for a short distance to get the ability built up.

so creepy it's scary

Despite the new rules, the debates over whether the Human Rights Act applies to under 25s and whether young people or vampires are a bigger threat at night the simple situation is that no one wants to address the real issues. Young people will always make mistakes, making a mistake and either yourself or others learning from it is the core of education, whether it be a teacher telling you 25 x 15 is actually 375 or smoking a joint of weed then throwing up over your girlfriend. Sometimes the mistake is minor, sometimes it’s huge, but the whole point is you learn. As imagine if you never learned anything, not because you were born with the intelligence of Wikipedia, but because you lived such a sheltered life where you never tried anything and thus learned, well you’d be like Rod and Todd Flanders on The Simpsons, in other words unable to function in wider society.

Make the changes you want, just remember that its going to confuse a lot of people when you do who suddenly have to learn a whole new subject in two days and that even after that things will never be perfect. Heck if the world was flawless, I wouldn’t see any point in living in it.

Adam Walker