As 2012 draws to a close many of us will start to reflect on the successes and good feeling generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will start to think about the coming year with a renewed sense of optimism and even make resolutions, that we may or may not struggle to keep and which we anticipate will make a difference to how 2013 unfolds.
This year has seen the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) stay resolutely above the one million mark. Through our work with charities focused on helping young people reach their full potential PEF is resolved to make a difference. So often young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to access the opportunities which could help ensure positive pathways into employment, we are determined to ensure that they do. However the responsibility lies not only with organisations like PEF. Each of us can play our part to ensure the NEET figures don’t continue to rise in 2013.
According to the European Foundation for Improvement of Living and Working Conditions in their report launched in November 2012 which looks at the NEETS population across the EU; the UK has the second highest number of NEET’s in Europe. Clearly there is more we can learn from our European neighbours, such as Youth Guarantee Initiatives, Second Chance Schools, and Employer incentives; all of which are having a positive impact on the numbers of NEET young people in other member states. Perhaps the suggestion by Vince Cable that all 18 year olds would be encouraged and supported to ‘learn or earn’ i.e. study or work, as they do in Australia, rather than join the increasing numbers of young people who are unemployed is one way forward, but it is clear we all have a responsibility to tackle this issue, it’s bigger than a single organisation or government can fix and too important to ignore.
Each of us can make a difference to the positive transitions into employment that young people need to make if they are to be successful in their adult life and for many this is about having the right opportunities. As 2012 draws to a close, let’s all consider what we can to do to enable young people to have and make the most of these opportunities. Could you contact your local school and offer to speak to students about your work or business, invite a group of students to visit your work place or maybe even provide a work experience opportunity for one or two young people? Do you know a young person who is interested in a particular career? Can you help connect them to people working in that industry?
Let 2013 be the year that all of us resolve to play our part and make a difference to the lives of young people in our communities.
Portfolio Manager, Private Equity Foundation