But while it is peaking now, joblessness is not a new problem and previous generations – particularly in the 1930s and 1980s – have scaled this mountain before.
Rathbone recently returned to the eve of that latter decade to remind everyone that youth worklessness has been around long enough. We even recreated a famous poster from 1979 depicting despairing unemployed teenagers transformed into carers, teachers, office workers and bricklayers – with a little help from Rathbone.
The chances are that your parents and grandparents followed their parents and grandparents into factories, shipyards and perhaps even coal mines. Many of those industries have now gone, so the first tip is:
- Keep your career options open and be receptive to new industries – especially in communications and emerging technologies.
While we’re suggesting NOT always following in your father’s footsteps, it might be a good idea to listen to and emulate him. Many from the early 1980s generation sought training on programmes such as the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). This attached a young person to a company and gave them practical, hands-on skills. There are dozens of training courses like this now and under the Government’s new Youth Contract, there will be plenty more to come.
- Find a training course that gives you the kinds of practical skills bosses are looking for and preferably, a spell on work experience. Rathbone has just started a new scheme for 19-24-year-olds called IN2WORK – which does exactly what it says on the tin!
The 1980s also saw a boom in small businesses and entrepreneurs from Lord Sugar to Sir Richard Branson rose to prominence. Support in everything from marketing to book keeping is available today, so…
- Why not think about setting up on your own? Young people are always full of fresh ideas, so stretch your imagination and introduce the world to your product.
It is a little more difficult to learn from the 1930s when financial markets collapsed and the Great Depression dumped millions out of work. The restructuring of financial systems and international events put pay to that recession but there is one lesson we can still learn from this period of history…
- Stay positive. My own grandfather travelled the streets selling scrap to feed his family. Tenacity still brings rewards today and while it is alright to feel down about the job situation sometimes – never, ever, give up!