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"Long-term unemployment discourages youth"
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"Long-term unemployment discourages youth"

Laura VincentUnemployment and high prices face today’s young people, writes Laura Vincent, 23, a Correspondent from Stratford-upon-Avon in England, who describes the struggle to cope with student debt and start a career. 

Is our generation doomed? I agree that that is rather morbid and pessimistic rhetoric to begin with, but what better? According to research by The Prince’s Trust, ‘Long-term unemployed young people are also more than twice as likely as their peers to believe they have nothing to live for.’ 

The Prince’s Trust also found that ‘Unemployment is proven to cause devastating, long-lasting mental health problems among young people.’ These findings prove that more should be done to tackle this issue as soon as possible. 

Youth unemployment is a subject that is being constantly rallied around the media, with upsetting statistics and facts that seem to be unavoidable. Being a graduate and having a degree to your name does not mean you’ll be led towards what your parents might deem to be a ‘proper job’, but rather a part-time job that does not require such a high qualification. It seems that there are too many over-qualified people working in jobs that they were not aiming for and rather than aiming high, young people are learning the hard way that they have to start low. 

Each year thousands of young people apply for university, under the impression that it is the correct way to go after school and that their dream job will be waiting for them with open arms once they have graduated. Instead, they leave with the knowledge that a letter will turn up every now and again reminding them of how much ridiculous interest has been added to the student loan, and a new sum of how much debt they’re in. No sooner has money come out of their pay and gone towards the loan than a greater amount of interest is applied. I, myself, am an example of someone who receives these very letters. How am I or others in the same situation supposed to feel encouraged and inspired when we may never be able to afford to pay it off? To add salt to the wounds of every budding student out there, the tuition fees are now at an alarming high, leaving young people fearful of attending university, rather than encouraged to continue learning and nurturing their interests. 

A fair number land on their feet after graduating, proving that it’s not 100 per cent of graduates left feeling lost and unwanted. But depending on your field of interest, a degree doesn’t promise a job, or have any value in some cases. 

It seems that nowadays, experience is more often than not rated higher than qualifications, which poses a Catch 22 situation as to gain experience you require experience. It seems that a helpful path for many young people is volunteering and gaining experience through unpaid positions.

All this talk about jobs and careers, yet there’s also the looming fact that the majority of the youth of today will not be able to get a single toe on the property ladder because the cost of housing is so high and the youth employment is so low. Inflation on everything from houses, car prices and government tax is continuously soaring. There is a constant discussion about whether we’re ‘worse off than our parents’, and the unanimous answer seems to be a massive ‘yes’.

However, my opening question of ‘Is our generation doomed?’ is highly debatable as the problems facing our generation are fixable, once (and if ever) tuition fees are lowered and schools give better guidance to young people about the alternatives to attending university. Yet I fear that this will not be within the foreseeable future. Until beneficial changes are made, who knows how many young people are going to lose faith in their futures and waste their talents. 

I’ll conclude with a quote from an unknown source: ‘what if the cure for cancer is trapped inside the mind of someone who can’t afford an education?’

photo credit: rawEarth via photopin cc

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 About me: After graduating university and feeling rather lost as to which path to pursue next, I have continued to work towards my ambition to get involved with writing, or journalism, in some form or another.

Having travelled around the world since I was a few months old I continue to maintain my enormous interest in travelling and exploring new places and meeting new people. I currently work at a local cinema, and utilise my free time to commit to voluntary work. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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