There was plenty in the jobs stats yesterday to get commentators and bloggers wringing their hands about our lost generation of young people. The tone of the debate is very much that young people are the victims of a failing market needing endless help and support to get back on their feet. However, it overlooks the fact that increasingly the so-called millennials are taking control of the market for themselves and making it work for them.
The general perception of a politically active young person is that they have been “politicized” by their parents. Never would the average teenager wish to engage in anything that even resembles political debate. Those who do are not only uncool, they wear blazers and they feature in BBC documentaries.
With public trust and optimism in short supply it’s easy to find negative stories about young people. As a generation they’re written off as being ill-equipped for the demands of a working life, let alone a professional one.
At the height of Olympic fever, it’s all well and good to say that children should be doing more sport and that state schools should add more hours of PE into the curriculum, but I think we are overegging the pudding, here.
Our work with young people, and in-depth research into last summer’s riots, shows that stop-and-search was a key causal factor in the violence that swept the country.
If some of the more hysterical right wing papers are to be believed there is only one type of young person; the angry, feckless yob that graces the front of the tabloids carrying various electronic goods looted from Argos.
As the number of unemployed young people (16 – 24) in the UK continues to hover around the one million mark, a perception persists amongst some professionals that these unemployed people are also disengaged, at odds with and disconnected from society.
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