Youth Unemployment Hits The Roof: Where Are The Jobs For Our Children?

Youth Unemployment Hits The Roof: Where Are The Jobs For Our Children?  

By Donovan Grant

Youth unemployment in the UK is at its highest level since records began in 1992.

What does this mean for our children? Well the bad news is that in June 2011 965,000 16 – 24 year olds were jobless. The good news is – there isn’t any good news!

Nearly one million young people out of work! This is a big shame for a major economy such as the UK. We hear the talk of double dip recessions, weak finance markets and poor results of the previous leaders. Whatever the cause, this trend has to and needs to be stopped.

Just ponder on this for a moment… What if we lost a whole generation due to lack of jobs?

There is never an easy time to be parenting, however if you have children around the 16 – 24 age group it’s understandable if you are very worried. On one hand we are advised to keep our kids in school until 18 and then send them off to university. Let them get a good degree! But hold on… now we are seeing that having a degree, does not guarantee that your son or daughter will have a job to go to after they graduate!

The other important thing is that some children are not quite ready for the university lifestyle and rigours anyway. Let’s face it, when children live away from home and have to manage their own lives as well as study hard – this can be major stretch. Sadly, a large number of kids quit in the first year for various reasons: some are forced to study a subject they don’t enjoy; some were not in the right frame of mind to study for another 3 – 4 years after school and others just got homesick! University is not the answer for everybody.

So what happens to the one million young people who are out of work and not in full-time study? An idle young mind normally gets fed up. Frustrations, boredom and stress kick in and a minority will end up on the slippery slope to a life of crime.

Can we really slow down this decay?

Well, it’s a possibility for companies to create new jobs but who wants to take on unskilled workers? Not many companies; and the ones who do are only willing to pay the basic minimum wage or offer part-time work. It’s not enough.

Another alternative is to have education and training programs that are linked directly the job market. If they had the chance to learn entrepreneurship and work related training, this could be a great way to serve this young population.

I remember when I started my IT career at the age of 18 I was one of 24 apprentices taken on by the bank. We worked as trainees and learn the skills of IT and banking on the job. Plus we got paid good money too! Unfortunately, most apprenticeship schemes fell away from main stream in the 90’s. The question is ‘is it time to bring the schemes back to help the development of the young work force?

The benefits to the young people include:

  • Earning a salary
  • Getting paid holidays
  • Receiving job specific training
  • Getting qualified.


The benefits to the business include:

  • Filling roles that the company has
  • Have young fresh ideas available
  • Keen and focused new staff
  • A good investment for the future.


The finance company that I company work for has just begun a new apprenticeship scheme that will be rolling over three years. They will be employing a sizeable number of young trainees and after just a month the results are already being celebrated. Here is what one new apprentice, David had this to say about his journey so far:

“With no previous business experience, accepting an apprenticeship with a multinational company was scary to say the least. As a school leaver, the thought of strict teachers being replaced by even stricter bosses was not pleasant. Fortunately, I am discovering a world I couldn’t have imagined.

Some people may take this for granted, but I’ve been here a very short time and already I’m doing things I never got to do at school, but wouldn’t have expected to do in a business environment. A lesson I learned in my first couple of weeks here is try new things with an open mind – you’re bound to benefit in some way!

David and his fellow apprentices are lucky ones. They are school leavers with a job and great prospects ahead of them.

What can be done to help the others?

We can’t wave a magic wand and create a bunch of new jobs out of thin air!

The government has started lobbying larger companies to open the doors to more trainees. This is a great start and we need this momentum to continue.

If your son or daughter falls into this age group, you owe it to them to help prepare for them role. With one million youngsters fighting for several thousand places, those that succeed will need to stand out in some way. The number one thing that we have found separates the good from the great is people skills. Give your child every opportunity to enhance their communication skills let their personality and confidence shine through.

Remember this- our goal is to help young people grow into young adults and be successful in their desired field, but they need our help along the way to get there!

Let’s keep the development of the child at the top of the agenda.

Ps. Mum and Dad, does your company hire apprentices. If not, contact the head honcho today and ask them what the company is doing to support the next generation. It might be just the push they need!

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play.

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  • Love the article Donovan. Didn’t realize UK had that high youth unemployment rate.  Great idea about about parents becoming proactive.

  • Anonymous

    Donovan, the future of our children is a real concern these days…Parents must do all they can to give their children the “edge” when it comes to succeeding and that begins with understanding the power their mindset plays. Thanks for sharing, great article!

  • AJ

    I like your idea of creating apprentice programs directly with companies. I think many people could by-pass college and get on the job training that was more effective for everyone. Especially since college is getting out of control from a cost stand point.
    Just a thought.
    Nice post,

  • Great insight Donovan; being an apprentice is something from the past and should be implemented again in these days. The whole setup of households would benefit from this great principle. College is good, but it not a goal in itself; personal development is much more important!

  • Thank you for sharing this news…given the level of Unemployment in the U.K., the answer to your question would be a resounding ‘YES’! …Thanks, Hughie

  • Apprentice programs are a great idea, something we need more of in the US!

  • Donovan, great article and agree with the statement about people skills and communication skills. We should bring back apprenticeship programs in developed nations (like the UK and USA).

  • Great article Donovan!  It is so vital that our young people learn how to work with people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs!  Thanks so much for sharing!  

  • It’s definitely the way forward. We have to give the young people a chance to succeed!!

  • To true Jennifer! Technology is making the world smaller, so they need all the tools they can to get them in the game.