The youth of today are characterised as work-shy and unmotivated for true work. We vote the least, work the least and yet we are the most highly educated and literally possess the ideas of tomorrow. Speaking as a member of this generation, the mindset that “we possess degrees no one sees as useful and no actual experience” is like a fury that never ceases. It is a down-heartening message, but the truth is so uplifting; and we can prove it. We haven’t quit. We face the pain of a depression we have no responsibility for and yet we continue to work in all forms.
Action research done by TFMP has shown a consistent pattern from university students, to school leavers, to the disenfranchised of Shard End and Washwood Heath. Each interview, a slice of a struggle generations wide, shows freelance, cash in hand and charity work by the dozen. Each one characterised themselves as unemployed, unable to contribute and useless; the truth is the opposite. This is the message drummed in from a million different sources and not one of them on the ground. The interviews, the meetings, the relationships, tell a whole other story. The generation burns with the Blitz Spirit to work no matter how informal, how unorthodox. If it supports, if it helps, we are there powering on to survive until our time in the sun comes.
There is a long way to go: the economic wasteland is most real for the 16% of those not protected in education or employment. But the fight hasn’t ceased. The pride I feel to be part of a generation where we fight even when we think we have lost is overwhelming. The one prediction for the future is when the clouds clear and the walls stop rattling this Youth of the Blitz Spirit will show a dedication that will lead the next boom. It is only those who quit, who fail.
Over the past 2 months The Future Melting Pot has been conducting outreach work in a number of locations across Birmingham, aiming to gain an insight into barriers to employment facing young people. Action research has been carried out in the form of structured focus groups and individual case study interviews with young people ranging between 16-24 years of age and has covered topics ranging from the informal economy to travel costs. Although we are still looking to hear from the young people of Birmingham, we have also begun research into the barriers to employment facing local businesses. An initial survey has been distributed and interviews with employers are set to commence imminently. The findings of both sides of the action research will be published in a report into barriers to employment in Birmingham and will also influence a workable solution as part of our 12-week intensive programme for young NEETs in Birmingham. If you’re a young person or an employer and are interested in having your voice heard or in hearing more about the project we would love to hear from you via: firstname.lastname@example.org
To complement the Youth EmployAbility project The Future Melting Pot has been working alongside Councillor Penny Holbrook and Liam Byrne MP to deliver Birmingham’s first Employers’ Convention scheduled for Friday 16th October at Highbury Hall. The event will be an opportunity for local businesses to make pledges in the form of work-related opportunities for the young people of Birmingham’s Hodge Hill District. The 2014 Kerslake Review drew attention to the major challenges facing employment and skills in Birmingham. Washwood Heath ward has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the city, with almost 300 16-25 year-olds claiming out of work benefits and yet education levels in the area are comparatively high – clearly the skills of young people are going to waste! The employers convention will form part of an innovative solution to the city’s major challenges regarding young NEETs.
For more information about the event and to register interest contact email@example.com
Alternatively to confirm your attendance and intent to pledge employment opportunities click here