Would I want to be young again, I wonder? It amazes me every year we hear that the GCSE grades are getting better because the exams are becoming easier. Yet, does this really say what is happening.
In my experience I have been fortunate enough to have never been out of work, homeless or destitute. But like many young people I do wonder what would happen if I did not have a job, or a skill I could sell to potential employers. In fact without my social work qualification I think I would be in great danger of struggling to find work in today’s work market.
Working with young people in care has made me more aware of the difficulties that many people especially young people find in looking for work. Placements, transports, contact, support are all areas that could affect the emotional well-being of the young people to stay employable.
There have been many schemes that try to get people back into work and the latest promotes work experience as a way of giving valuable experience in a work place. However, this has come with a well publicised criticism and most of which has been fair.
We have yet seen from this government a positive approach to enabling young people to return to work. I doubt that we will see anything meaningful until confidence is restored in employers to meaningfully recruit and expand their business again.
For young people more support is needed in helping develop their own understanding of the work market. Time dedicated in developing their own interests and knowledge so that as business shrink into the Web and out of the high streets. Young people can challenge the business markets and create their own work. Maybe if more vulnerable young people such as care leavers are encouraged to work with organisations such as the Prince’s trust their mentoring scheme could help develop this.
Or if you are someone who could help young vulnerable people develop confidence and skills needed to find work offer your help to the Prince’s Trust mentoring scheme.
Can you remember your carer’s advice before Connexions was created? For me it is so long ago my own memory of it is very vague. At most it was a one hour lesson and answering some questions on a computer programme. I am still delighted that my chosen carer was on that list. Looking back now, that was the total amount of my carer’s advice. The rest was down to me and luck and a lot of pressure – I mean support from my family.
Having worked closely with Connexions for the past year, I can see an immense benefit for this service. For some Young People they will know instantly what they will do in the future. Some Young People will they will be lucky enough to go down an interest that may lead them into a carer. However, there is a whole host of Young People from all parts of Society that do not fall into these categories. They have no support from family, no positive role models and may not have been looked after by the Local Authority. Their education quickly becoming low on their agenda as the need to survive in a hard-hitting Society increases.
There continues to be a rise in the numbers of Young People who are unemployed. Leaving School and not finding work, or having College course qualifications that don’t support their job applications. And at this point I do worry about my own children, and where they will find work when they are older. It seems with the loss of Woolworths that there seems to be a loss of high street jobs, with a trend moving towards online shopping continues to spread. This may be easier however, if you do live in a bigger town or city.
Therefore Connexions is not just about carer’s advice. It is a safe place to visit, where staff are friendly, and have experience to support Young People with Teenage Pregnancy, Counselling, Substance Misuse. They work with lots of different teams to provide support to all Young People. Connexions run short courses with employers that could lead to employment; they advertise jobs appropriate for Young People. Connexions are also in Colleges and support Young People to apply for College and find the right College course for them helping Young People to return to education.
So it saddens me as a Professional and as a Father knowing that this service is going to be phased out and replaced with a more generic service. Where carer’s advice will return to School’s for the Young People. Some Connexions have already gone from the town centre making it harder for Young People to gain help and support.
In today’s Society we are being encouraged to look and talk about “Big Society” it appears where people are no longer able to expect to get ‘face to face’ support. Instead you will need to have the confidence and ability and determination to find out the information for yourself using the internet (if you have access). Or maybe joining the many at your local job centre and argue and fight the bureaucracy there for information and support.
Connexions is a positive service for all Young People and one that promotes the five Key Outcomes and also supports Young People in our communities.