My Column

Focus On Youth to Rebuild Economy

  • Date: Monday 5th October 2009
column Picture

Gordon Brown cut his teeth on the Labour frontbench in the early 1990s complaining about a lost generation of teenagers created by a recession made in Downing Street.
Well, I'm afraid the current situation doesn't fare much better, Prime Minister.
Figures to be announced next month will show youth unemployment will top ONE MILLION.
This is seriously scary and mirrors the levels of youngsters out of work in Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s.
The Government's answer so far has been a £1billion future jobs fund which aims to create 150,000 posts.
This initiative is being supplemented with the Backing Young Britain campaign, which urges businesses to give young people jobs, training or work experience.
But it's been labelled as little more than a re-run of the YTS scheme in the 1980s, which meant youngsters were often exploited by employers as cheap labour.
We need a major re-think and an emergency package of measures to tackle youth unemployment MUST be top of the Cabinet's agenda.
It's time for quick solutions and the Government must find practical answers that will save a new generation from being scarred by long-term unemployment.
I've said before we need to believe in a creative youth which will stimulate our economy and pull us out of this cycle of economic depression.
It's important we raise the level of investment in apprenticeship schemes for a start.
The economic recovery will be driven by the construction sector but it's already feared there will be a significant skills gap when the next growth cycle for the industry begins.
Statistics show the first thing companies do in a recession is stop recruiting staff and more and more students are facing the dole after graduating from university.
It's therefore vital that the Government works with businesses to develop a robust internship scheme that will create a climate where graduates can develop links with potential employers throughout the duration of their degree course.
I was at the O2 X Awards in London last week, which recognises and rewards a new breed of exciting British entrepreneurial talent.
One of the winners was Enternships.
It provides ambitious students and graduates with an opportunity to learn about business and enterprise through work placements.
These take place in innovative environments, from start-ups to global venture funds around the world.
Surely the Government's enterprise agencies should be spearheading such initiatives?
We also have to encourage youngsters to be creative and dynamic.
Despite witnessing a growth in the Scottish and UK entrepreneurial culture, I still believe that more could be done to encourage business start-up activity.
But crucially the Government - and Brown - has to listen to youngsters and work with business to get the country and our economy moving again.
I'm delighted to be working with the BBC on a special youth jobs panel which will meet with youngsters to discuss their job options and aspirations for the future.
The report will be filmed for BBC Online and will feature in a joint link-up with Radio 1, 1Xtra and the Asian Network.
I'm really excited about getting to the grassroots of the problem to understand the concerns of youngsters and to develop solutions that will position the country to grow during the economic recovery.
Maybe the Government should do the same.


Related Content Video: How To Sell A Business - Trade Sale

Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive