Youth Unemployment - a 17 year old's perspective

After a week of working in Jobcentre Plus, Norwich I have come to realise how important youth unemployment is to the organisation. Many people – young and old – struggle to find a job and before this, I didn’t realise all of the support available, which in all honesty, most people don’t make use of. In a week, I have seen the support the Jobcentre provide, along with external support, such as youth panels and employment fairs. I haven’t even reached the age the Jobcentre class as youth unemployment – only being 17, yet I still struggle with having no job, so I can’t imagine how people who have to support themselves can survive. I’d like a job for the same reason as most people my age, which is to give me a bit more independence and being able to pay for things myself, but I didn’t even think about the people who are searching for a job because they actually need to support themselves and a house. However, this doesn’t stop my job search, which is practically impossible. It’s a catch twenty-two situation. If you don’t have experience, you can’t have a job, yet if you don’t have a job, how can you get experience? The employers have a long list of reasons as to why we aren’t employable, too young, too busy with school, can’t do the required hours. But really, we are good workers yet we aren’t given the chance.


In my opinion, youth unemployment leads to laziness. If in our youth we can get the idea that we can get by without working yet still get the funds to support our life, then what are we going to think in 15 to 20 years time? Yes, not everyone is like that, but effectively, by potential employers not taking us on, this could be a thought that comes into our mind.


However much I am against youth unemployment, I do see why employers don’t want to employ us, as well as reasons as to why we don’t want to work. For example, by the time you have got to work and paid for transport fares – be it by bus or by car – that is a large chunk of the wages already gone and so it sometimes probably won’t feel worthwhile. Over my time of applying for jobs, I’ve had three interviews (not many compared to the amount of CVs I’ve handed out) but I would say my restrictions on transport and other resources have put employers off. One employer asked me if I could travel to Swaffham occasionally, which wasn’t possible. This is just an example, but there are restrictions on being a young person looking for work, especially part time work. So although I feel disappointed when I get that email through from a place saying “unfortunately you have not been successful this time” I do understand that there are good reasons behind it. However, I don’t see this as an excuse, I will keep up my job search and hopefully some employers will eventually look past what we can’t offer them, but what we can.


Still being in education – and I know the people who read this aren’t likely to be – restricts how much I am able to work, so really I would only want a few hours a week. Maybe 10 or a little bit more, yet it is practically impossible to find anything. Not only this, but I wouldn’t know the first thing to do if someone rang me up and told me to come to an interview, having practically no experience as it is. Something I have learnt is that if you do want a job, you can’t be fussy and you have to be willing to work as many hours as they want, because lets face it, I don’t know anywhere that just wants Saturday workers.


For those out of education, life could be a little bit easier. You don’t have the restrictions of schoolwork and the opportunities are endless. You can even get education through the work and still get paid. I think being outside of education and searching for a job is still difficult (and I have only found this out after my week of work experience) but there are lots of opportunities available which you can use.


So, for potential employers out there, please don’t think that all youths are lazy and only want to work with you because their parents have asked; a lot of us are good workers and will give as much as they can!

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