There’s trouble brewing up mill

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IT’S been reported that there are a million 18 to 24-year-olds looking for work in the UK. Reasons given for this range from immigration to the recession to the loss of the UK’s manufacturing base to the lack of vocational qualifications. And yes, each plays a part in this sad saga.

Some point to the symmetry of a million young people who cannot find work and a million illegal immigrants in the country (so far as anyone can tell). However much people scapegoat immigrants, though, the problem lies equally with employers who, because of red tape, cost and commitment, won’t risk in a recession employing anyone – particularly anyone young and inexperienced – who knows nothing about their business.

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And then there’s the loss of the UK’s manufacturing base. The British workforce is low skilled now because, for a couple of generations, there have been no skilled jobs for which to train as the industries that needed skills have disappeared. Instead, people have been trained to sell mobile phones or act as Customer Service/ Call Centre advisors.

Which begs the question: who actually generates wealth in the UK? It’s all well and good to have a billion service industries, but somebody somewhere has to make the money that we spend in retail outlets, bars, restaurants and on cars, holidays, computers and flat screens. The finance sector is one; oil and gas is another, then there’s the IT industry. After that? Not much left. Gone are the days when Britain manufactured for the world. Yet we still all expect to have good incomes and good lifestyles.


A lack of vocational qualifications also plays a role here. Many young people get educated in subjects not related to the job market. A child goes to school, works really hard, get lots of GCSEs and As at A Level. Then the system says you are clever and, since you like history, you do a history degree. But what real use is it to emerge with debts, degree and the question now: What? The young person’s betrayed by the system. Britain needs graduates but produces too few with work-related degrees.

Am I the only one who senses an urban revolution welling from within the ranks of the young? A generation who have little concept of the real value of anything, think friends are unknown entities on Facebook. Who see it as “normal” to pay to speak to their “friends” on a mobile phone 30 seconds after seeing them in person. Those who despise the old and frail, have no respect for authority, discipline, the law, other people’s property and no ability to survive without being surrounded by gadgets to perform tasks that never used to be required.

Oh yes, there’s trouble brewing all right.


www.nora-johnson.com

 





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