From The Evening Standard:
Who would want to be leaving school or university this summer? When I finished my education five years ago, the default setting among escapees was optimism.
Sure, we were sad to wave goodbye to friends, fancy dress festivities and — for some of us, at least — studying, but there was a wider world of work we wanted to be part of. Today, that feeling must have turned into despair.
According to research released this week, an average of 73 graduates will be chasing every job. But if the situation sounds dire for the highly educated, imagine how those without letters after their names feel as they fire their CVs off into the abyss. More than one in five 16- to 25-year-olds is currently out of work. They aren’t simply suffering alongside everyone else — the young are being hit disproportionately.
I’ve spent the past three years wondering what it will take for those in power to tackle the problems facing the under-25s adequately. For instead of helping them, this Government seems intent on kicking them.
The Education Maintenance Allowance was abolished. Tuition fees have trebled. And if the Tories stay in power, the young can look forward to having their housing benefits scrapped too. But nowhere does this attitude manifest itself more obviously than on youth unemployment, where the Government’s £1 billion Youth Contract is nowhere near enough.
Perhaps the Conservatives have largely given up on the young, deciding that it’s easier to convince the generations above that the fresh-faced are just shirkers, too hopeless to find work or to deserve homes or help. Certainly, the under-25s are easy to ignore — they don’t, after all, vote in the numbers that the elderly do.
But if there is a political explanation for half-hearted action, there certainly isn’t an economic one...