Being in the 16-24 age bracket kind of sucks right now. Gone are the days where these years are the time of our lives, where our bright futures begin and opportunities and independence await. Instead, you can’t log on to Facebook or look on a news site or open a newspaper (apparently some people still do) without being smacked in the face by a statistic telling you just how completely lost our generation is. The big numbers themselves – over a million young people now unemployed, long-term unemployment up 857% since 2000 – are blinding and impossible to comprehend. But the reality of being included in that statistic is something we’re having to deal with.
When we finished our GCSEs we were presented with a million options: leave school and get any job that pays, work in an unpaid internship, take A-levels, attempt to get into university, end up in lots of debt, try to find a way onto the career ladder, sign on. But somehow, no matter which path we chose, a fifth of us have ended up in the same situation: unemployed. There is no longer a right decision to make when you are 16. Or 18. Or 21.
On the surface we know the current unemployment situation is not our fault. We’ve been put in this position because of economic failure/governmental negligence/actually whatever. But the reasons that the media give us don’t mean anything when we open our inbox to find yet another rejection email. We don’t even know where to start looking for a solution, let alone a career.
Battlefront’s Campaign to Combat Youth Unemployment is being run by four young campaigners – Ava, Myles, Chelsie and Kealy - people who aren’t just sat there crunching numbers and writing articles and reports. They are people like us who have been finding it tough. They know what it’s like to be a statistic. They know what it’s like to feel rejected.
Each campaigner has a big challenge ahead of them. They’re going to be asking the questions a lot of us are desperate to find out. How can we improve the prospects for our generation? It’s not going to be easy and they’re going to need your support to help make their voices heard.
Get involved by following their progress on the website, Facebook and Twitter as well as sharing your stories and don’t forget to sign up to support The Campaign To Combat Youth Unemployment.
Jessica Riches just graduated from UCL with a 2:1 in English Literature. She spent more time tweeting than actually doing her degree and is currently trying to turn that into a career. Follow her on Twitter @littlemisswilde and read more musings on her blog.