Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

For many people, by which I mean the ones who always seem to appear on TV or in films, your first job is usually a romantic day dream surrounded by either steaming hot trays of pancakes and waffles as you roller skate around the diner or have to apologise for the 50th time for “accidently” breaking the window of the local pensioner when delivering his paper at 10mph. The wistful smells of sweet summers, the friendly customers smiling, the broken ankle after slipping on the coffee you forgot to mop up, it’s quite a wonderful idea to reflect on when your sitting on a rocking chair in your 80s. Too bad that it’s complete bollocks for some 90% of us.

For the majority who lived after the 50s revolution the first job usually fell into one of two categories: either just some pointless part time job in a shop stacking shelves or clothes whilst being asked 30 times were the toilets are, or having to work at a low wage job such as mining or steel working from 16-60 because education and job chances in your area were so poor you had no choice. Although this second one in Britain is now more or less gone the first one is more true than ever, the only modern twist being that even when you do have access to education at a university level it still largely does nothing to help you get into any area you studied for, or would of hoped of working in.

This might sound somewhat pessimistic or untrue, but the reality of it all is that with near 50% of young people going to university, it’s evolved from something that was once a way of really learning and setting your self out from a crowd into an almost automatic right that costs you upwards of £20,000 and putting you in a crowd of thousands of young people. So suddenly a degree is not enough anymore.

With millions of people unemployed right now, even for low-key jobs the markets pretty desperate, well if your applying that is. For those on the other side, the employers, things couldn’t be better.  Take the media for example, a good one as many young people aim to work in it with booming numbers of media courses. If you’re an Editor or a Producer you long to have around 200 people apply, although it means sitting through a lot of nonsense it means you can pick usually around 60 of the best and offer them a week long placement or unpaid internship, which as the buzzword nowadays is “Experience”, most will happily snap up.

Think about it, that means you can have a whole year filled with essentially free labour, admittedly most of the tasks given will be the stuff that no one wants to do such as cataloguing but it means it gets done without you having to pay over £12,000 for the pleasure. In fact the money flows the other way, with the average work placement costing people over £400, especially as most of the UK’s media is based out of London, and unless you live there you’ve got to pay for board, food and travel.

Many of the familiar TV personalities had a different time, as this idea of work experience is a relatively new phenomenon, with people being hired for their ability rather than having made 3 million cups of tea.

You may be tempted to think: “so what, things are hard all over”, or you may even think young people won’t care because they enjoy TV and partying too much. If that was true then 21-year-old Vicky Harrison would still be alive.

I don’t know if you saw this story when it came out in April, but Vicky had 3 A-Levels, 10-GCSE’s and even went to University before deciding she didn’t like the course. She had applied for more than 200 jobs, not just in teaching or TV like she had hoped to do, but even just working in McDonalds or Tesco. Every time it was a cold hard no, until after two years, and suffering from severe depression she took a fatal drug overdose.

Between December and February, youth unemployment rose to 929,000. A figure expected to increase as increasing numbers of young people are turned away by universities. In the Daily Mail, following the tragic story of Miss Harrison, a reporter revealed she had been trying to help a young reporter, who was interning with her, named Emma find work, after she worked from 9am to midnight, longer than most of the paid journalists. Despite the Mail Reporters senior experience and contacts, all she could offer from other groups was unpaid internships, leading her to remark: “But they are not OK. Nowadays, you have to have rich parents to work in any of the sexy jobs such as fashion or advertising or journalism.

“When I first worked on Fleet Street, my newspaper was not being published because the printers were on strike for, like, a million years, and I still got paid for just sitting there eating a sandwich.”

To the employers, young people now are essentially willing slave labor, who will do any job no matter how tedious because they’ve been duped by spin in job ads into thinking you need 3 years of experience before you can get a job. To much of the public, young people are all image obsessed, drunken loud mouths that care more about appearance than anything. If that’s true, then its also true to say all pensioners move at 1 mile, are closet bigots and serve no purpose in life. Generalizations can be fun when they’re not aimed at a group your in.

Basically the job market for young people is ridiculously discriminatory, with many either being told they lack experience of being given psychometric testing, something that is as accurate at telling a persons personality as licking their bath towels and identifying the shower gel they use. Of course this won’t change anytime soon, unless we return to the violent protests of the late 80s and then things will likely change for the worse. But if you are thinking of employing someone, for the love of bread and butter pudding ignore the qualifications and actually ask them about who they really are, when they love, what they hate, whether they think we should hang or poison MPs. And if your looking for work, two pieces of advise: 1, no amount of book studying, or work places are going to help as employers will always find a way to screw you over, and 2, 1 in 4 lap dancers has a degree, so don’t think that what you study is what your going to end up doing, by all means try just don’t close every door in the pursuit.

Adam Walker