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Young and unemployed

Rod McKenzie Rod McKenzie | 15:30 UK time, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Losing your job is a bitter blow for most of us: for young people that blow can be much more bitter and brutal.

Radio 1 logoBelow the headlines of the latest jobless stats lurks a worrying figure for teenagers and early 20-somethings: one in seven under 25s is now out of a job.

When firms cut jobs young workers are often hardest hit. More than 700 a day are signing up for the dole, the fastest rate since Labour came to power in 1997.

So getting a firm foothold on the bottom rung of the career ladder is a challenge: losing that foothold easy. Temporary and casual contracts are the norm - with big firms and service and retail sectors cutting back, many jobhunters are finding their prospects are bleak.

Our reporter Jim Reed spoke to some of them for pieces broadcast on Radio 1's Newsbeat, 1Xtra News and Breakfast News on BBC1. We set up some advice on the Newsbeat website.

And many listeners contacted us. 1Xtra's - the youngest of any BBC adult service with a median age of 21 - had their say.

K.H.Z said: "I graduated from uni in summer, have all the skills needed 4 a job an i cant get anything cuz of experience. I have a fultime job on minimum wage an i should b earning at least double! Vexes me propa."

Another added: "Im 18 and was made redundant 4 months ago iv applied for at least 50 jobs and around 5 hav got bak to me sayin i need experience i dont want to b on job seekers allowance i feel sick knowin im able to work yet nobody will give me work."

But not everyone from the age group was sympathetic - an 18 year old soldier texted us to say: "Its easy to find a job regardless of the economy, its pure laziness. Why not join the armed forces? Most young people cant be bothered."

So what do you think?


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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm sorry but I can't resist.
    Is it entirely coincidental that the ones complaining can't (or won't) spell, and the one who is unemployed can't (or won't) use punctuation?

  • Comment number 2.

    This is another lost generation but this time it is Labour's lost generation.

    Too much emphasis was put on getting as many kids to university which of course helped their middle class vote.

    The rest were just left and as money flowed into the economy it was easier and cheaper to pay them benefits than do a proper job educating and training them.

    No need when lots of cheap skilled labour came in from Europe to fill the gaps.

    So now we have kids that have no confidence to join the workplace and a host of others with university degrees who will not take jobs they feel are beneath them.

    We have to accept that the open door policy of migrant workers went too far to the detriment of the indigenous young people of this country.

    This recession and the pound falling like a stone against the euro will surely encourage many migrant workers to return home again.

    Perhaps then this government will take a look at what organisations like the Prince' Trust have been doing for many years with difficult youngsters .

    Using volunteers they have been able to steer many hapless kids onto the straight and narrow.

    We cannot afford to have so many inactive young people otherwise it will only lead to more crime and social unrest.

    For many unfortunately it is too late but there is another generation coming through now who need all the help they can get.
    It's time whatever government is in power recognised this.

    It needs dedicated people on a large scale to organise projects that appeal to the youngsters and gives them confidence and aspiration.

    Not national service but something as character building and disciplined which gives them a sense of worth.
    Something they would want to do rather than being forced to.
    It will take them out of their comfort zone of gangs and isolation.

    It may be a hard sell to many but the alternative of doing nothing is really not an option. It will only lead to further destruction of our society.

  • Comment number 3.

    I too am just out of university, and have had to take a part-time minimum wage job because of the "no experience" catch-22. I'm fortunate that I can live with my parents who aren't charging rent. I feel for others in my position who aren't so lucky.

    The entire employment system needs an overhaul - but I'm told this is not a recent problem. The amount of money I have wasted attending interviews only to discover that the firm has promoted internally and only advertised the position because they had to by law! It is also a flawed system if having a degree isn't evidence of time management skills, and instead employers are looking for people who have been on key skills courses and have time management qualifications (no seriously, I have been told this...).

    But my main point is this: I am not surprised the people above do not have jobs. Their lack of decent English offends me, and I certainly wouldn't hire them!

  • Comment number 4.

    I presently live in North East England and can see why there are so many who'd rather claim benefit than look for work, go to college/uni or join the armed forces, 1 simple reason, WAGES.

    Try any job centre between Newcastle and Kingston upon Hull and I defy you find employment with a wage greater than NMW unless its for experienced trade personnel, this includes the lucrative IT sector where southern earners expect £30000+ to work as a network professional, the same jobs here are lucky to command 12- £16000, this after a university or college degree or diploma.

    The services offer little either, unless you wish to become cannon fodder while the chinless wonders of this country reap the benefits of commandeered oil.

    There are also numerous (millions) without academic achievements, and not everyone can excel in school, these are the people who are in despair, and I really, truthfully mean despair, thanks to the Tory policies of the eighties, which have continued with Labour (joke) to the present day.

    Most of these would be in full employment in Mines/Steel/Shipbuilding and related industry, as you don't need degrees to be able to work hard, what you do need however is somewhere to work and these places no longer exist.

    Its no wonder drugs and binge drinking among the young is prevalent in our society, without a stable environment its pretty hard to think about tomorrow, so while they have a little cash, blow it on a good time today.

  • Comment number 5.

    # 1. CarolineOfBrunswick


    I agree completely. I read KHZ's comment on his/her situation and really don't know who to be most angry with. Is it KHZ for actually believing he/she "has all the skills needed 4 a job"? Or how about the teachers who allow such people to believe that communicating in such a fashion is acceptable? Or even the BBC for publishing it in a sympathetic way?

    In addition, the two illiterates quoted are effectively saying: "We're victims. Society owes us something." In comparison, there is a soldier who can write properly (I can't excited about missed apostrophes), and has a positive attitude.

    KHZ and ANO need to reflect on this. If they were in competition with the soldier for one available job, who is going to make the better impression? A person who is articulate, positive, and already in a role that suggests he/she will work well in a team especially under pressure? Or an illiterate who thinks they deserve paying for doing no more than spending three years at a third-rate former Polytechnic? I know who I would employ, and I begin with a negative pre-disposition towards the military!

  • Comment number 6.

    K.H.Z said: "I graduated from uni in summer, have all the skills needed 4 a job an i cant get anything cuz of experience. I have a fultime job on minimum wage an i should b earning at least double! Vexes me propa."
    Sorry but anyone willing to have their words printed like this clearly lacks any of the proper personality traits for a professional job!

    If KHZ had had some forthought then he/she would have made sure of taking a course with an optional year in industry. Not only is it a year of experience on the CV and also a great chance to effectively have an extended job interview with a potential employer (many of my year went on to be emplyed by the same company due to making a good impression), but the experience massively improves you as a student and an individual provided you get even a half decent placement.


    "Im 18 and was made redundant 4 months ago iv applied for at least 50 jobs and around 5 hav got bak to me sayin i need experience i dont want to b on job seekers allowance i feel sick knowin im able to work yet nobody will give me work."
    There are plenty of jobs out there, if you can't get one in your field then do ANYTHING to get some experience, even subsidised charity work looks better on a CV than being unemplyed for 4 months.

    Not to mention that at 18 there are numerous schemes that this person could be on to try and gain extra qualifications.

    These are two young people, probably with no mortgage or kids to support, these are not the people who need the help. They can make a living off of minimum wage if necessary.


    Most of these would be in full employment in Mines/Steel/Shipbuilding and related industry, as you don't need degrees to be able to work hard, what you do need however is somewhere to work and these places no longer exist.
    Sorry but the jobs DO exist, pretty much every fast food outlet in my areas still have signs up saying that they are hiring, the coundils have constant ads in the papaers for binmen and litter cleaners, most shops have been taking on for christmas despite the situation. Hard work is NOT just going down the mines and lifting heavy things, it is contributing in whatever way possible.

    The reality of manufacturing in this country is that it is dieing because people are not willing to accept the same wage as 20 years ago. Every tom, dick and harry thinks they deserve their two weeks in spain each year, their big screen TV and a take away once a week. Wages going up the same rate (or higher) than inflation has meant MORE disposable income and thus more waste.

    Sadly the minimum wage, as much good as it has done for many in this country who needed help, has to take its part in the blame here. When a cleaners wage doubles in 10 years then everyone elses has to as well to keep parity.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Sorry but the jobs DO exist, pretty much every fast food outlet in my areas still have signs up saying that they are hiring, the coundils have constant ads in the papaers for binmen and litter cleaners, most shops have been taking on for christmas despite the situation. Hard work is NOT just going down the mines and lifting heavy things, it is contributing in whatever way possible."

    If you bothered to read my post you would have seen it alluded to the fact that the majority have little or no academic skills, but are able to "graft", I find it hard to believe any shop or fast food outlet would take on someone lacking basic numeracy/literacy skills and the numbers of sweepers/moppers in these premises is going to be limited.

    Maybe councils in your area are on the lookout for binmen/litter pickers, sadly not here, in fact this work has been farmed out to private contractors who use one or two teams to service the whole area where previously councils would employ many in these jobs, these people are now aiding the statistics at the job centre.

    Contributing, to what? Why should anyone do a task without a modicum of job satisfaction, is that so employers can make pots of money while paying minimum wage, I see by your last sentence what the real problem with MW is, its the likes of yourself begrudging a person having a decent living and expecting a lot more than your own worth, therefore increasing inflation and keeping the low paid in poverty. H.Bell

  • Comment number 8.

    I actually can't remember the last time I met someone under the age of 23 who was able to spell, use grammar, or string a sentence together properly.

    Of all the disgraceful things ZanuLabour have done in the past 11 years, and let's face it, the list is extrememly vast, I think the very worst thing is their attack on the English language by preventing pupils from being marked down in school for using it incorrectly.

    I feel so sorry for Labour's uneducated generation, victims of so many left-wing social-engineering experiments. But I still wouldn't employ them until they learned to spell.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nobody can expect to work continually without any unemployment. Companies recruit temporary staff in order to have the option of not renewing contracts. Permanent staff are laid off as work is outsourced or relocated to cheaper locations.

  • Comment number 10.

    There's also the comments about the "text speak", I personally dislike the practice too but I have little doubt that both these individuals, "rite propa", its simply the way the youth of today communicate.

    Then there's the, "third rate polytechnic", jibe, its little wonder jobless figures are on the up with attitudes like this, a college is a college, a university is a university, degrees wherever obtained should be respected, each individual has put in 3 or 4 years for a degree and at least 2 for an HND so why should employers differentiate between prospective employees by judging which educational establishment they attended, could this be, "The old school tie brigade" rearing their timnotdim, toryboy ugly heads. Yes it is, and, you proved it with this crass, class remark, I waste my time conversing with you both. H.Bell

  • Comment number 11.


    I agree with you one hundred percent.

    New Labour have dumbed down education to hide the huge problem there is for any young person wanting to find work. Once upon a time apprenticeships with local builders, garages, heating and ventilation engineers, joiners etc, were available because they represented cheap and enthusiastic labour at the start, and skilled and reliable workers after serving their time or obtaining their qualifications. Now companies know that they can engage cheap "skilled" labour because there is a huge gap between the numbers out of work and the vacancies available.

    We have the prospect of graduates working as shop assistants, bar staff, call centre workers or fast food crew, simply because our economy does not have the variety it once did. Wages have plummeted because of the NMW which has had the reverse effect of that intended - it stands as the optimum price in a dutch auction and is easily breached by cash in hand.

    Workplace conditions have also suffered with workers afraid to stand up for their rights for fear of losing their jobs. Big companies who should know better clone managers who do as they are told without thought and without conscience. The whole emphasis is on saying to people "you want to make it good, then do it yourself", rather than encouraging and nurturing talent for the good of us all. "Believers" can quote the "good news" stories but, like Government gloss, they are exaggerated and are often plain lies.

    Jobcentres are geared up to push people into any old vacancies. They are not geared up to retrain and re-skill in the sense that a benefit claimant anticipates. Many former high earners will walk into a jobcentre saying they will do short term shop work, cleaning, etc not realising that they have no chance.

    The UK Government has many pretend official statistics designed to mask the real jobless issue. It has a strategy to keep youngsters out of the labour market for as long as possible, via college or university. A lot is made of qualifications but there are many bright 16 year olds who get and keep jobs with no qualifications at all. With the right personality and confidence levels work can be found but it can take far too long and is far too unpredictable to make young people feel valued. Countless false dawns await the job seeker; employers leading people on, demanding money for equipment, imposing impossible hours, limiting time off etc etc. Most of it is illegal but there are no employment police to be found.

    Some stark facts help to illuminate the real problem for most young people. An adult can get a job as a cleaner paying £5.73 per hour; you can get a job as a topless cleaner paying £15 plus per hour; you can get a job as an exotic dancer paying £25 plus per hour. Makes you think doesn't it?

  • Comment number 12.

    Surely all the 21-year-olds learnt all the important spelling and grammar skills under a Conservative government?

  • Comment number 13.

    # 10. flashHarry1955

    Thanks for your detailed sociological analysis of my background. Unfortunately, I don't quite fit your Toryboy etc model. I'm actually the child of parents who spent almost all their working lives in the public secotr, my father as an NHS administrator and my mother as a primary school teacher. My father had to leave school at 15 as his parents could not afford for him to stay on. Consequently much of his education was achieved via night school. When I came along he was totally driven by the idea that I should get the education that it had not been possible for his parents to provide for him.

    I've no doubt you'll dismiss my educational background as elitist, given that I went to grammar school and then a top 5 University. Don't worry, though, I've heard it all before. Mostly when I was a Labour Party activist, and a significant number of my "comrades" felt that my education made me "an enemy of the working class" and a "traitor in the class war", just to give you two repeatable comments frequently aimed in my direction. They didn't like the fact that I trained to be an accountant and get highly paid work in the financial services industry either.

    Whether you like it or not, not all Universities etc are equal. The more prestigious attract the best staff and students. Consequently those students get the best job offers. One of the cruellest deceptions of the current government is the notion that going to University is a universal "good thing". It was just a way of cutting youth unemployment numbers to meet a 1997 election pledge. They compound the problem by setting the same fees across the board. Again, like it or not, a degree in almost anything from Oxbridge is more valuable in terms of future earning potential than a degree in David Beckham Studies from Stoke Poly. That needs to be reflected in the price. At the moment, most attendees of top Universities still get a cheap education, subsidised by the mass at the bottom who will never get out of student debt. It is elitist in the extreme.

    Unfortunately, your "every institution is equal" mantra just adds to the problem. I'm sure you're well-intentioned but, unfortunately, you're the problem not the solution.

  • Comment number 14.

    Micky-taking going on here.
    Imv, full employment for an indefinable number is no longer a meaningful option for any political party.

    I agree with Simpson of the BBC.
    A return to the 14th century is on the cards.

    Best find that spot which will support a pig, a cow and a few chickens. Who ever does will be well-off.

    "I kid you not."

  • Comment number 15.

    Contributing, to what? Why should anyone do a task without a modicum of job satisfaction


    Why? Because society needs people to do these jobs!!!

    Unless you plan to be cleaning up your section of the street, take your own bins to the dump, grow your own foods, make your own clothes and treat your own sewage as well as working then you need people to do the less pleasant tasks in life for you.

    Just because 50% of kids go to university does not mean that over 50% of jobs provide satisfaction, most do not, that is why we are paid to do them.

    for 99% of people oppertunities are there, they are just too stubborn or lazy to do anything about them.

  • Comment number 16.

    First off I'm sympathetic to anyone without a job - it's not nice for anyone.

    I can't see it as being a bigger issue for the young. People at the start of their careers have much more flexibility than those who are well into them.

    Ask the highly skilled miner/car worker who used to have a good wage, and needed to support their mortgage and family. Even with re-training it will be very difficult to get a first job in the new field which will meet their commitments.

    It's actually a lot easier for a young person looking for their first job to say...

    "no point looking at industry for a career - there will be no future. I'm looking at health & social care, still jobs there."

  • Comment number 17.

    Caroline of Brunswick, your toffee nosed reply is typical of those that hath. The issue is not about a grammer lesson. I do not agree either that it is the young who at risk. It is everyone, and possibly more danger attached to the newly weds or those with young family and the older ones who need to hang in there to get pensions.
    The younger generation, which in my view can be faulted at by their parents, (Caroline of Brunswick probably being a fine example) who have given too much to their offsprings. Too much freedom, too much money and too little authority. Youths today believe it is their right to wear rings in the lips have spikey hair and wear rag tag muffin clothes calling it "cool" and worse, fahionable. As an employer, appearances are important. A slovenly selfish appearance will not pass even the secretary of our company never mind reaching the HR dept. These people have had too much "given" to them one way or another. They are unwilling to move their butts to find employment preferring to stand on street corners drinking cans of beer, smoking, and causing irritation. I am NOT painting everyone in the same colour, but I can assure you that my UK company has more than 75% cut out at the immediate stage of job enquiry because of presentation and attitude. (chewing gum is worse than smoking). I have two children of very different ages, one is now a father, the other is just a toddler, but they are both getting the same important grounding, love, honesty, understanding and an education at home as well as school.

  • Comment number 18.


    I like the fact you criticise Caroline's posting about "grammer", then proceed to do the same regarding appearances! I'm sure employers would much rather have someone who can write coherently, than who looks nice. Of course, ideally, they would probably go for someone with both.

    The issue with the people mentioned is that they seem to think that they deserve a certain wage for what they have achieved. Not the case. Part of this is as a result of hearing about graduate earning levels x number of years ago compared to none graduates. These figures are now worthless, as 50% of young people go to university, not roughly 10%. There aren't that many jobs requiring a degree, so why cram so many people into university?

    When I left school 5 years ago, I disliked the fact that I had very few options offered to me other than university. I wanted an option other than academia, as I was not overly keen on lots of book learning and studying. I wanted a chance to gain experience in the work place, without having to go into manual work. I had A A B for my A level grades, and I was told that anything other than University would waste of my ability. Why was the option not there to start a career without acquiring 3 years worth of debt? I'm sure many people, like myself, are better suited through learning in the workplace.

    Back to the wages matter- as a chemistry graduate, I could not find full-time work on leaving University, but worked through an agency for 9 months on £6.50 p/h until I found a full-time job. I didn't expect to be given a job, and attended many interviews until I eventually got a permanent job. I do agree, it seems hard to get experience required to get a good job though, you usually have to work your way up, but so be it!

  • Comment number 19.

    I understand the REAL level of

    unemployment for 18 to 24 year olds

    is circa 1 million.



    DOING SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Can I just give a piece of free advice to K.Z.H. and your other young person:

    Learn to write. You may think you have "all the skills needed 4 a job", but trust me, you don't. Many employers are terribly old fashioned fuddy-duddies who expect people applying for jobs to be able to write coherent English.

  • Comment number 21.

    arnie_99 sums up many of the dilemmas facing young people rather well, especially in pointing out the declining value of a degree, and a social scene that has been engineered to make university ever more cool and desirable (by eliminating all the other choices).

    "Uni" was cool in my day too, as much for the social initiation it represented as for the "extra" cash a degree may bring in remuneration. And, as has been pointed out already, it also represented "successful" parenting (even if you were a part of a totally dysfunctional family).

    The middle classes don't do "socialism" especially well, as can be demonstrated by the current rabble that infests Westminster and most public services and agencies. In fact the middle classes do not do anything particularly well because you cannot "manufacture" equality, or be passionless about things that require and consume passion. When you sit between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea you do not ponder your dilemma you ask yourself how the hell did I get here?

    When we believe that all we need to do is pass laws and everything will be alright we really have exposed our deepest flaws and it would be kinder to return to the padded cell than promise to do better. When we think that you engage equality and diversity by passing laws to encourage them, then you really have not only missed the point but completely misunderstood what diversity and equality means.

    These people who make our laws are (by a massive majority) a product of our university systems, not just recently, but also from many decades ago. Their thinking, with few exceptions, is wholly flawed. From their middle class professional backgrounds they have an unreal and ill conceived view of the working classes because they do not have those increasingly rare qualities of modesty, humbleness and an ability to listen. They do not teach those in university you see.

  • Comment number 22.

    I basically agree with the '18 year old soldier'. My local B&Q has a board full of vacancies as does my starbucks. Why can't they fill them?

    I did serve in the army for 3 years before deciding it wasn't for me and I used some of my saved pay to put myself through uni. It can be a good life and a very good way at getting an education. Train as an engineer or a combat medic or a driver or a chef and there's a good job waiting in Britain when you leave. Tanker drivers make £40K and the army will pay you while you learn to do it!

  • Comment number 23.

    It really amuses and annoys me when people believe everything they think they see. As someone who has recently interviewed out of work tanker drivers I presume that whilst there may be vacancies in one place that does not mean they are everywhere, and it also does not mean that every jobless person can simply fit into a vacancy by uprooting themselves either.

    Almost every employer that has vacancies usually has problem shifts that they want covered - a weekend check out worker working 18 hours over a weekend for example. They may also be storing up CVs ready for their next recruitment drive because they turnover staff regularly.

    Employers advertise family friendly hours but if you dare ask about them you will not be hired. It is an employers market because there are too few vacancies and too many people out of work.

    Holiday times see a flood of casual student workers come and go as they seek to control their debts. They will not mind any work because there is an end to it. It is a little different for those who really do want work but also need a prescribed income in order not to fall into debt. If you are pretty sure of getting work in your chosen profession within three months then temporary work may be available, but if you put your cards on the table it is unlikely.

    The notion that people do not want to do certain jobs is largely a myth. It isn't the work it is what goes with the work; low pay, poor conditions, rising debts, long hours, and a dire outlook. People cannot be blamed for fearing a decline into destitution.

    When an experienced and skilled worker cries on your shoulder because of the uncertain and uncomfortable future they face, with all its appended stigmas, you come to realise just how retarded and blinkered our thinking has become.

  • Comment number 24.

    I was talking to my painter and decorator recently who simply cannot get a trainee.

    All he wants is someone to train up. He accepts that they might even be bone idle half the time but he needs someone to fetch and carry, run to the shop for more paint and get stuck in with the roller once in a while.

    Every single young person he has approached has turned their nose up at his job. He was offering £200 a week with a day in college, so that’s £50 per day to start with, above minimum wage, with training.

    One of the lads he approached (via their mother exasperated by the boy lounging around the house all day) told him he wanted £200 a DAY! He only charges £125 himself and has been doing it for 20 years.

    Expectations are just too high. I also feel very sorry for all the "middle achievers" at second rate universities who have been led down the garden path about what a degree means. As an employer myself when looking at the untrained end of the market you tend to either want a graduate from a good institution who has the ability to do well and progress into senior management, or you want someone at 18 who isn't too full of themselves who can be molded in the right direction. Those falling in the middle tend to think they are brighter than they really are and somehow "deserve" a senior role. This is rather dangerous in the workplace, yet as a country we are churning out these people by the thousand and most end up resentful in roles they could have done at 18 – and 3 or 4 years behind people who went in at this point.

    Its a very sorry position to be in, and when I am asked to advise youngsters I often tell them to view university as an extension of their youth unless they are able to get into a high ranked institution and get a 2:1.

  • Comment number 25.

    i dont c any prob wif ppl usin text talk.

    It is just a dialect. Its up to them particularly on a blog like this. It is there for them to have a voice, and they are writing for their peers. Why do people take such offence. What a load of nobs. Do you really want to take all identity away from them. The whole system stinks for them. At one point if you went to uni you could get a job. Now the risk is all you get is debt. Schools fail many, any kid showing a problem is likely to be dumped at the back of the class. Not always I grant you, but it would seem to occur far too often. There is little prospect so many rebel. What is the surprise. I have met a couple of successful, now old, businessmen who left school with no qualifications at 15. Both were doers, not paperwork people. Both were aware that they were most unlikley to be able to make it work now, they still cannot do the paperwork, they employ graduates to do it for them. What has changed. There is now a lack of work and you cannot fill in a hole without a 'reinstatement' 'qualification'. There seems to be plenty of money for worthies to assess hole fillers but less money to pay people to actually do something useful. On the academic side it is obvious that there is pressure on school leavers to simply move forward on to a degree, any degree, because there is not the work, and then there simply are no posts available on graduation - To the extent that some graduates then have to retrain in much lower level vocational qualifications to try and get a job. I know of a number who have had to do this. It cannot be efficient for the individual or society. It is an elaborate con. And you are surprised they feel disenfranchised. Yes, go and join the Army. Just like the kid I knew who was a star recruit but couldnt take it and then killed himself. It is not for everybody. Sorry Harryflash, no dig at you, or anybody hitting civvy street and finding it barking mad.

  • Comment number 26.

    24 ethalrocks

    Sorry fella whilst I can connect with your problem I have another view. I have had to effectively subsidise an apprenticeship for a number of years because the pay is abysmal and the kid cannot live on it, can barely run a car to get to work, effectively a requirement as they are expected to go to different locations. Apprenticeships being exempt from the minimum wage, neat trick eh. Look it up. I may as well have sent a cheque to the employer every week. I recognised it was the best thing to do for the future, an investment. I know local kids who have given up because their parents will not/cannot cough. I have also have had a academic high flyer now in a high paying secure job in the family so I know the costs of either route. The situation that students cannot survive on the available funding is ridiculous. They costs of uni are not small and apply enormous stress. There is a job expectation problem, you are right in that, but I would not recommend anybody to take an apprenticeship where the end job is not secured by H and S. Your painter example is too vulnerable to migrant workers, whatever he may protest. Just how special is this job that you are offering that you need a 2:1 or better. Fair enough you can take advantage of the supply in the system to get the best available, but it is not a general solution is it. You may well be a very good employer but too many employers also have expectation problems. A failure to tutor or develope. Whilst I might sound in arguement with you I have given similar advice to that you have given, but that is a comment on the employment problem in this country for the young, not a comment on the young as far as I am concerned. The flip side is a great many employers, which does not have to include you, pose and pretend they can offer security and a career, when they cannot when the chips are down. Middle managers in larger companies are amongst the worst, claiming they steer company policy when they are in reality they are told what to do. No, sorry, the young have a problem and it is too simple to say it is down to them.

  • Comment number 27.

    19 alexander curzon

    You know as well as I do that the UK cannot stop 500 million EU citizens moving to the UK for work if they are intent on it. It might not be appetising but it is there. Just like you can operate in Poland and still be in the EU which gives you advantages. So what are you suggesting - stopping non-EU, stopping commonwealth movement totally, or get out of the EU. The devil is in the detail.

  • Comment number 28.

    Most painters and decorators are charging nothing like £125 per day because they are from Eastern Europe and do not intend to be here in six months time let alone take on an apprentice. Indigenous P&D's form a large number of those claiming benefit. Any kid thinking of taking it up as a career would be wise to visit a psychiatrist.

    The same applies to those who have been taken for a ride by the degree trap. Once upon a time you would have been in the top four percent of the country's educated, now you are just another also ran. Academic attainment means little unless it can be slotted into an increasingly pigeon holed labour market. Politicians wishing to appease their cronies have done their worse to construct structures that thrive on clones, automatons that do exactly what they are asked. No necessity to think, just an ability to read and bark out orders.

    I rather doubt that universities will find it tough to turn out these clones although I must say I am impressed at the humorous course titles they invent each semester to keep the pretense going..

  • Comment number 29.

    glanafon 27

    I know but the UK needs to sort out this


    We need to get these people motivated to

    want to take part and educate them well

    enough so they can take part.

    Nearly every Pole or Czech i meet speaks

    three or more languages just as a starting


  • Comment number 30.

    The problem with a lot of the jobs you see advertised in MacDonalds and the like is there always part-time, which means under the minimum wage that they pay, you actually simply cannot live off of them.
    On top of that, they demand you stay on standby even when not being paid, so you cannot do two jobs at once or even combine them with an academic course.
    There basically designed as jobs for kids living at home and supported by their parents.

    Where the UK has gone wrong is that a Job, no mater how basic, used to be aspirational as it gained you respect and security for the rest of your life. All introducing a flexible workforce has done is erode another the moral values that once underpinned our society.

  • Comment number 31.

    maybe some of the young men in these gangs who consider themselves' tough' enough to shoot and kill should be sent away to the army, at least their so called skills could be put to use in Afghanistan or somwhere where people who can fight are needed , maybe there they would learn some kind of respect for human life , especially where for once, their own life might be on the line.

    I know a lot of people won't agree, but how can they make these kids see reality ? they think that it's some kind of game. They may be tough in some side street in Liverpool but how tough would they be in a real war zone I wonder ????

  • Comment number 32.

    The government has an urgent task: tackling youth unemployment!Young people need to be motivated. Ensuring employment to graduates and training them adequately is just one problem. Providing gainful employment to people with no adequate skills is an even greater problem. Being unemployed in this day and age is like having the sword of Damocles pointed at you: a stark, scary future. Young people are encouraged to study hard but are there enough jobs to go around?

  • Comment number 33.

    The young peeson using the text slang would be unlikely to use this at an interview or on a job application so it is nonsence for people to think otherwise.

    What this does show - in a so-called free society - is the daft interview/recruitment system. People have to stretch the truth, tolerate lousy jobs, get degrees and debts they don't want and pretend they are something they are not in order to get a job. And then the problems of low wages, bad employers and workplace mindgames can begin!

    No wonder generations of young people become disollutioned.

    As for that guy who recommended they all join the army this rather reminds of the point that not everyone is suitable for every job. Some people do no have the disposition or belief to join the army anymore than they do to do, say, bar work. So the irony is, then, that people are expected to lie on applications and in intervews to get jobs they are not suited for. And then employers complain about attitude and aptitude!

  • Comment number 34.

    29 alexandercurzon

    The UK has an unbalanced economy

    Disproportionate distribution of wealth to an older population due to housing markets transfering unearned wealth to the babyboomers and older, from an increasingly indebted younger generation(s).

    Similar problems due to pension provision which appear to be in difficulty.

    A superiority complex due to being an island that had at one time an empire.

    Poor language capability which you have noted.

    The only way forward is education and training so there is knowledge worker capability not lowest common denominator wage. Not penalising students at every turn

    I find it hard to believe but I understand that housing wealth inheritance expectation is factored into government policy. This is fine if you are a property inheritor but just increases the schism if you are not. An underclass is in development.

    The problems are deep and when coupled with limited natural resource point to major social problems in the future. The gifted will leave becasue they will benefit from it and they will be welcomed elsewhere.


  • Comment number 35.

    But what if the gifted never realise their potential?

    We commit many gifted people daily to the despair of chavism because of the ways we allow or even enable the rich to reward themselves at the exense of others.

    Do not judge those yet to attain against the odds that you are so well rewarded by.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why concentrate on the young? Try getting a new job after the age of 45. Almost impossible. Try being a single parent and holding down a job while having to find reliable childcare and then pay for it. Try raising a family and paying a mortgage, then being made redundant.
    When a company is hiring, why should the young be given priority over anyone else? They are no more entitled to earn a living than the next person, and sometimes a lot less inclined. That is said from experience of working with several young people who have got themselves a job where I work and then 'don't do Mondays' or have 'got bored' Life isn't all a bed of roses, you can't have everything you want. This can make employers think twice about employing the young, not because they're all the same I now they're not, but because of bad experiences they don't wish to repeat.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have left Uni, have a B.A honours degree and a Masters, yet I have not been able to find employment.

    I have good skills, good extra curricular activities on my C.V, good grades, good reccomendations, yet I'm on the dole.

    I have tried to get something to just keep me going in the meantime, yet places you imagine it would be easy to get work have rejected me. McDonalds, a few Harvester pubs, supermarkets, and warehouses have told me that with my qualifications they don't believe that I would be with them for long.

    The graduate jobs I have been applying for have fierce competition, and fewer companies are advertising positions now. The longer I look for work, the more suspicious it looks to employers who ponder what I've been doing since graduating.

    As experience seems to be my biggest obstacle at the moment, I was considering looking around for work shadowing of somekind, but unfortunately I would violate the conditions of the job seekers benefit, which states I must always be available to look for work. With no other income available to me, I cannot afford to give the job seekers benefit up.

    Hopefully I'll get something soon, but I am considering looking for work abroad. I have debts of over 17k from Uni expenses that I need to repay.

    I used to consider people on the dole to be scroungers, but finding myself in this situation I have nothing but sympathy for them now.

    However, the worst thing is, I look at myself with my education, and wonder what the hell it must be like for other people right now who can't find anything.

  • Comment number 38.

    The thing about this "unemployment statistics" lark is that it doesn't take into account the number of available "monkey-jobs" that anyone could do... but can't be bothered to.

    Walking down my high street, I see jobs in Argos, Wilkinsons, Asda, Morrisons, Starbucks, Costa, O2, Mountain Warehouse...

    Personally, I'm 23. I went to college, did well. Moved onto uni, did a 3 year degree in IT, got a 2.2 with honours, moved back home, and got a job in my local mobile phone shop. 2 years on, I'm still there as I'm earning a very decent (nowhere-near-minimum-wage) pay packet, and I do my job well.

    Oh, and I can string together a proper sentence, without using "txt speek".

    It just goes to show - for those who want to put in the graft, the jobs, money, and satisfaction are all there. For those who don't want to play "the game", stop whining, and in the slightly bastardised words of Monopoly - "Go directly to JobCentre. Do not pass Threshers. Do not spend £200".

  • Comment number 39.

    i really feel for young people today,i remember very well how uncertain and difficult conditions were when i left school.I think PART of the problem is the currant pc fashion for all inclusive and accessible education, a system where being good at something is seen as eliteist and discriminatory.
    Every year record numbers of students achieve "a" grades,yet every year employers complain that the level of grammer etc etc goes down,why is this?Could it be that the exams really are easier?
    Is it really a conspiracy theory to suppose that the government are trying to pass their education policy as being a success by lowering the standard needed to achieve top grades?
    labour has never made a secret of the fact that it has wanted to close every grammer or private school in the country,yet bizzarely 2008 saw a labour minister appear on tv stating that if private schools wanted to maintain their charity status,then they must share teaching staff and facilities with local state schools,he justified his position by saying that private schools poached the best staff and pupils from state schools.
    this position seems more than a little hypocritical as firstly the parents of privately educated pupils not only pay for their childs education,but also contribute to the state systems via taxes,thus reducing the burden on the state system.
    secondly,if the state system works so good,why does labour insist on making the private sector share staff?
    saying that private schools poach the best staff is redundant,these teachers would have left the state system(or not even entered it) because of evermore demanding target based teaching,large class sizes,increasing violence against teachers from pupils,virtual breakdown of discipline in school,spurious accusations by malicious pupils and parents of various abuses by teachers,all leading to teachers suffering severe demotivation and depression .Look at the numbers of experienced state education staff leaving teaching altogether or newly qualified teachers changing career as proof of this.Also since when did a government have the right to dictate where the staff of any business work?
    it would seem that the private sector supplies a disproportionally large amount of well educated students when compared to state schools,yet labour call them eliteist.Whats so bad about being elite? Would the SAS be expected to be mediocre?
    Are formula 1 drivers not the elite of the circuit racing world?.....

    i couldnt afford private education,but i dont dispise those who can.
    for Those amongst us that feel the need to question my background to see if i've had any kind of privilaged start in dad was a labourer and my mother worked part-time at tesco,i left comprehensive school without a single "O"level and never attended university and i make my living repairing the"high quality and reasonably priced"work left behind by wonderful polish plumbers

  • Comment number 40.


    "Mostly when I was a Labour Party activist, and a significant number of my "comrades" felt that my education made me "an enemy of the working class" and a "traitor in the class war"

    This sentence really sums it up. Guess my opinion of student activists.

    At the time I was busy striking for a year to save mine and my childrens jobs, then when this idea failed I got on my bike, worked my butt off for years, all in heavy industry around the country till there was nowhere else to work, meanwhile yourself and all the other number crunchers were busy milking it for as much as you could get.

    Now because I knew how to survive a crisis to try and earn my living I opted to study, gained my degree at some 3rd rate former poly but with little to no hope of employment I set up on my own and have a successful business, without the help of a school tie, grant or other handout I might add, so no, I'm not the problem, I solve mine.

    Its the fake labour activists, middle & upper class twits who are this country's biggest problem in thinking that by closing down industries that made the billions the country was built on the future would be all office rosy, without products we are nothing and without beans there'll be nothing for you to count, or don't you get it?

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi everyone I am currently 20 and this is my story.

    I have spent three years at college one year doing an ICT course and the other two doing a E-Business course. So far I have applied for about 150 jobs in three months and have had ten interviews and was told I need experience. And many of these jobs I was more then qualified. But how am I going to get experience without a job?

    For example my sister who is 27 with experience found a job within a week and I am just as qualified as her.

    I am currently working but only 16 hours a week which is only just enough to live on but only just. Loads of part time work out there.

    There are jobs out there but the problem is other companies are going out of business their staff with experience applies for the same job as me they get it. I am not willing to do a job to just get me by being doing that for a year now fed up.I want a career.

    I am currently applying for the RAF as an ICT Tech and have my interview on the 8th January which will tell me if I am in or not.

    I have a feeling that there will be allot more people trying to get into the armed forces now.

  • Comment number 42.

    Well this time it is definately a watershed but the last thing we should want is a return to the 14th Century and the implications of the Black death, the Peasants revolt and a singular lack of rights for the great unwashed. But is is clear that food will be required and that manufactured goods will have to last a lot longer. Consumerisim will not be same as it was and the halls of mamon will be used for different purposes.

  • Comment number 43.

    35 stalisman

    If your comment is directed my way - I am saying more money needs to be put into education and training to address some of the acheivement problems.

    That - gifted or not - acheivement should not be based on the social class and willingness of your parents. That factor will never be eliminated but it can be reduced so there is a more level playing field. Some of the kids I have met have a pretty grim home environment and when those problems are carried into the school they end up pushed to the back, due to prescriptive pressures on teachers. they are in a impossible position.

    Recent further education policy has been largely ineffective because although increased access has been pushed for and rules put in place to support this, funding has been short. Despite good intentions the problem has been expanded.

    The young in due turn are the ones who will pay tax and prop up the system which will collapse unless they can earn a decent wage as skilled workers or knowledge workers to pay a bearable tax. I cannot understand why some of the public are not prepared to consider more funding and endlessly complain about the feckless young. They are the future.

    If I have gained anything it is by working harder and longer than those around me. I have had a great deal abruptly taken away from me at one time or another. If I have gained anything at any point it usually has been against the odds. I am only too aware of the difficulty many face. I am certainly not trying to preach, I am simply trying to report my experiences. If you dont happen to like it pass me by, as the song said.

    Much of education is a single pass escalator, step off the escalator for whatever reason, and you cannot get back on. There is a similar problem in jobs. Progression and continuity is seen as a good thing by assessors.

    The older worker having employment problems is a different problem and also returns to the fact funding for retraining is very limited in its application. If a million are to be added to the job queue many are going to have a problem - many will find the jobs they had are not going to come back for them. As some of those are going to have paid very substantial tax over the years out of high salaries they are going to be truely appalled just how little help will come their way. All, whatever paid in tax, are equal in the eye of the statute.

    Adult retraining is problematic as most further education or training is set up for school leavers not the older person. Whilst is is fairly easy to say - well they should have put effort and resource to one side in the good times, for many there have never been good times, it has been a continual treadmill and the income is gone before it hits the table. In part due to high taxation, direct and indirect total 43 to 46 pence in the pound. Taxation is less in the US, as is social provision, which is why recovery in the US is usually quicker than in the UK, although social provision is obviously a big problem in the US.

    The development of the high cost housing market - in part controlled by planning restrictions - is a major social and economic mistake - you have had to buy or rent an expensive house to get a job in many cases. It just removes more money out of the pocket of the worker and reduces the capability when the skids are knocked out.

    Whether young or old I have seen the gifted just go mentally AWOL and self sabotage for reasons which defy logic, and often despite family pleading. It just happens sometimes. A fuse blows and it is an unforgiving environment. You cannot return to Go. You usually have to start a totally different game which is very difficult, particularly if also in a poverty trap.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Thankyou for publishing this article. I'm 23 and have been unemployed since February (fixed term contract ending, not getting fired or walking out) and I'm utterly fed up with it. I have lost count of how many jobs I've applied for, from trainee reprographics positions to dressing up as a giant burrito to hand out leaflets. I have not been picky in my job search! I have had ONE interview and didn't get the job. I don't understand why I'm not even getting interviews when I'm bright, literate, experienced and capable. I've worked since I left school at 16. My only 2 conclusions are that 1) because of my age I qualify for the highest rate of minimum wage and I suspect employers want the cheapest labour possible in the current climate and 2) because I'm getting no work, the gap in my CV is getting longer and more offputting by the day (although I've been studying for a diploma so I'm always busy doing or learning something) . I think employers should be closely monitored in their recruitment processes and I also think there should be a BIG emphasis on training for work. Just because someone doesn't have fantastic grammar or a suit doesn't mean they should be cast off and forgotten about. People are too quick to stereotype young people (eg. the comments about piercings, haircuts) without looking deeper at their true potential.
    Add to this the fact that many jobs suitable for inexperienced young people are thankless, insecure and paid at the minimum wage and it's not hard to see why so many people (at any age) are disillusioned and demotivated to work at the moment.

  • Comment number 46.

    Comment number 1 took the words right off my keyboard, so to speak.

    K.H.Z. I think made 12 mistakes, while the second person I belive made 15. They wonder why they can't get a job! I'd say that was pretty obvious really.

    The soldier only made 3 errors. I do sympathise in as much as finding the apostrophe when texting is not simple, but he was accusing others of being lazy!

  • Comment number 47.

    Perhaps you could make Jonathan Ross unemployed?

    It would be a welcome Christmas Present to a British public who are sick of this fawning talentless pwat.

    And then he could tell you what it's like to be unemployed... with only a couple of hundred million stashed in the bank.

  • Comment number 48.


    "The young peeson [sic] using the text slang would be unlikely to use this at an interview or on a job application so it is nonsence [sic] for people to think otherwise."

    You reckon? As an employer who gets to look at plenty of job applications, I can tell you that it is not at all uncommon to read text speak in job applications. Whether they are just being lazy or whether they genuinely don't know how to write proper English, I don't really care. Either way I don't want to give them a job.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm glad to see that employment problems can be so easily sorted by the application of punctuation. Problem sorted, except for dyslexics of course.

  • Comment number 50.

    I always find it amusing that every person in a job judges those without one by their own standards and vocation. Thus if they are in a good job and work hard, then everyone out of a job must be 'lazy and not as good as them'.

    It's this kind of gross generalisation about peoples circimstances, ones they can know nothing about, that makes the whole debate a bit silly.

    Join the Army? Well there will be plenty of wars in the next few years, that's for sure.......

  • Comment number 51.


    This appears to sum up what is a very unsatisfactory system. The Government has never invested in education and training in the manner required. Dumbing down the system to fit the LCD profile may be fine for anyone who gets a chance and would not have done so before, but what if that chance is of greater odds than winning the lottery?

    The UK needs jobs, enough jobs to satisfy at least 90% of those who need work. Full employment tends to stop deterioration of pay, conditions and staff turnover, all weapons used against even the best workers. They force employers to think before they act, something that hasn't happened in twenty years.

    Society is not a business. Society requires every participant to have consideration and respect for every other participant, not manufactured PC pseudo-babble but heartfelt understanding of what life and its problems really are. When you close the door on the community outside you invite the many social problems we have now, and it really is our last chance to stop thinking that you can control people via their incomes.

    We already have an underclass; another five years and another 25% of our streets will be added to the "no-go" list. It is time to start valuing people of all ages, all races, creeds, and cultures because we want to live in hope and not fear.

  • Comment number 52.

    45. At 11:09am on 22 Dec 2008, parisboldaslove wrote:

    Thankyou for publishing this article. I'm 23 and have been unemployed since February (fixed term contract ending, not getting fired or walking out) and I'm utterly fed up with it. I have lost count of how many jobs I've applied for, from trainee reprographics positions to dressing up as a giant burrito to hand out leaflets. I have not been picky in my job search! I have had ONE interview and didn't get the job. I don't understand why I'm not even getting interviews when I'm bright, literate, experienced and capable.


    Parisboldaslove, it sounds to me like you are doing most things right especially making sure to study if you arent working. However with the jobs you have been applying for to only get one interview is very odd. I would suggest you find out if your town (or college) has a local careers advice berueu and ask if you can sepak to someone regarding your CV. It seems like there must be something putting people off you and these people are the best to find out what it is.

  • Comment number 53.

    I am 21 and have been in my current job for over 2 years. For around 14 months I struggled to find work.

    An unemployed person will find it much more difficult to get a job than someone who is in employment.

    I don't neccessarily like the job but the people I work with make the job a whole lot bearable.

    In this current climate, I'm just glad I am in employment. That I am grateful for.

  • Comment number 54.

    52: hackerjack, it's more common than you think. I have been repeatedly told by recruitment agencies that either they won't take me on their books because I don't have enough experience, or I have too high qualifications and their clients would want somebody more likely to stay with them long term. Basically, apart from making a lot of friends and having some fun, it makes me feel like studying for the past 4 years has been a complete waste of time. Also doesn't help that I did Mathematics at uni with an intention of going into Finance, only for the economy to collapse in on itself within weeks of returning home...

  • Comment number 55.

    It's simple getting employed, even when you're young. I left college at 17 with no A levels just wanting to get into work because I wasn't intending to go to University. At first I was seeking a desk job, but those are very hard to get with no experience or qualifications. Then I went for retail. No one hiring there either. So bottom of the barrel, I went to work at McDonalds. It doesn't matter how hard it is everywhere else, a place like that will always be hiring. As will the army, although I can completely understand anyone who would rather not work for them.

    Unfortunately for me I've not had the best of pasts, and my mental health has always been a bit iffy. My first day of work I couldn't hack it, and within just 4 hours my manager told me I should quit and go home. I have since moved onto incapacity benefit and am currently seeking good therapy (I have been on one therapy course before but it didn't really work for me). It is taking a long time despite my efforts, and I rather feel the NHS and government have failed me there.

    But I digress, back to my original point. Everyone in my generation who is physically and mentally able can get a job. Some do aim a little high but they are often the ones who are at least trying. The problem is so many young people can't be "bovvered".

    I went to a good public highschool, I had good teachers, and I had fun there. I have come out fairly well educated and obedient. Yet so many students from the same school came out as your stereotypical teenagers. Taking drugs, constantly getting into trouble, and at this stage in life unemployed and mooching off of the government. If I and so many others can come out from a poor family as a well-mannered teenager with good grades, why haven't they?

    It is parents, I feel, that need to step up. Too many of them are passing on their mannerisms to their offspring, and it's making it harder for us children of responsible hardworking adults.

    We shouldn't need the government wracking their brains trying to tell us how to raise our kids, a good parent should know what best to do for their child. It really should be left to the responsible adults to have children, and if the others want children themselves then they should smarten up. Seeing as that is nothing more than a pipe dream our generation and the next generation and all that follow are effectively doomed. Pleasant thought, isn't it?

  • Comment number 56.

    With discipline so poor in schools, and problem children given no boundaries at home either, it is no surprise that those who leave school face an uphill battle to get jobs. We badly need much more positive images of our young people because many of them, perhaps even the majority, deserve that.

    The Government has failed to ensure that young people are sought after and valued because they have dumbed down to make it look as though their educational reforms are working. A qualification is only as good as the person holding it, and it is not going to persuade an employer unless there is an appropriate personality to go with it. So even if the CV makes it through the sift you'll be found out quickly on interview if you do not act the part.

    Sometimes I wish we employed actors in schools to teach voice and vocal skills, to teach kids how to listen, to understand and use body language effectively, rather than wasting time on other things that do not enhance the chances of successfully landing a job. Ill disciplined children are lazy, and the product of lazy parents. Teachers cannot be blamed for concentrating efforts on those who show acumen because that is how they will ultimately be measured. Turning Janet or John around from an unruly young teenager into a well mannered and respected young person without qualifications doesn't count for the teacher.

    We need very high teaching skills at primary level so that by the time a kids reaches secondary level they have every opportunity to make something out of education.

  • Comment number 57.


    I entirely agree, its pretty damning of our university system when graduates don't simply make the odd mistake they do it on purpose!

    This is why with industries like I.T you are far better off leaving school with good A levels and going straight in to work. By the time graduates start to compete you are in a far better position as your skills are proven and in I.T a university certificate is largely worthless.

    You can also try and convince your employer to pay for you to get your microsoft certifications.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have more than one comment.

    1. David Fryer at Stirling University is an expert on UK poverty. I would love to see him quoted more, he is so succinct and to the point. Why isn't he headlining the news?

    2. I am told there is a link between unemployment/poverty and crime. Why aren't children being helped by teams of social workers and the police from the start of primary school to learn and qualify for work at a later stage? By the time they have become disruptive teenagers, it's too late. Alongside this policy needs to run a policy of achieving zero unemployment (why are the unemployed viewed as shirkers when unemployment is tragic/impoverished and there simply aren't enough jobs for everyone?).

    3. Alongside getting people into work needs to be better policing to protect us all. Kids need to be taught teach to respect police, and the law, in schools. It seems the police job at the moment is viewed as preventing terrorism but no other crime. Police work is at it's best one of prevention. No good telling me after I'm murdered that the police did a good job finding the criminal - they should have been there to prevent the murder. And if the police want to gain public respect, they need to be a visible and benign protective presence on our streets in all areas, from the small village to the big city, every day of the year.

  • Comment number 59.

    I sit here in despair after having read that truly awful piece of semi-literacy by K.H.Z.
    He / she professes to have all the skills required for work. I would pay good money to have a look at any job application completed by this person and the same goes for their CV. If they are fortunate enough, and somehow I doubt it will ever come to pass, to get an interview it would be out of sheer curiosity.
    The writer does not state whether or not they funded their own university education or did I as a taxpayer do that.
    By trade I am a Marine Engineer who worked his way up from oily rag in the boiler room to 2nd engineer on large ships without the aid of a university education.
    A university education does not give you the God given right to drag down 30K a year. That comes with time and effort and if it means mopping out the bogs in McDonalds then so be it.
    Get off your high horse, get down the road, get any paying job and while you're out lose the attitude and get a dictionary.

  • Comment number 60.

    There are thousands of young people up and down the country at Colleges or University that simply shouldn't be there or more likely wouldn't have gained access to these once revered educational establishments in the first place with the dumbed down qualifications they " earned " at secondary school to gain entrance.

    These people would normally have been our future skilled artisans, carpenters, plumbers, etc, but are now conned by New Labour into being poor, in debt, and most likely lumbered with a worthless piece of paper supposed to be a degree of high educational achievement.

    There a loads of these kids in Glasgow.

  • Comment number 61.

    In respons to the original article - It's funny buy everybody says it's hard being a 20something these days. And yet all I see is 20somethings with their brand new phones every so often, designer clothes, drinking, smoking and having a good old time of it.

    I wish I could afford the lifestyle many 20somethings have these days.

    And if they are finding it tough to find a job I say tough luck. Perhaps if they stopped acting as though going to university meant they were owed something more than flipping burgers in McDonalds, and perhaps if they bothered with the english language rather than the stupid, lazy, shorthand many younger people use (2 examples given in this article) then maybe they would find getting a job much easier.

    Starting on a minimum wage job is basically starting at the bottom, it's the way it has always been, you start at the bottom and work your way up.

    I may be only 31 but I know the value of experience and you don't get experience by going to university and expecting to instantly get a job that is halfway up the ladder and pays £30k PA!

    And when there are so many unemployed people and so few jobs the young people complaining they are on minimum wage need to realise they are very lucky to have a job in the first place.

  • Comment number 62.

    Just want to add to my previous comment that I spent a good deal of time (a number of years) as an unemployed person due to living in a commuter town not too far from London (Braintree, Essex) that is bereft of any meaningful employment besides working in a supermarket (and none of them were hiring at the time or wouldn't hire me for whatever reasons they may have had) and seeking employment further afield was just as fruitless, so I can understand that young people may find it difficult to find work but to me it seems they have all the advantages these days (at least where I live they do, most 20somethings live at home are fully supported by their parents) so I don't sympathise with them.

    Especially when they cannot or won't use correct spelling, proper grammar or punctuation (not that my grammar and punctuation is brilliant, but at least I try) and seem to think that just because they have been to "uni" that they are owed something in life.

  • Comment number 63.

    CarolineOfBrunswick (and others who jumped on the spelling on this article straight away)....

    ... Did it occur to you when you were busy looking down your noses that these messages may have been texted to the radio show?

    While I don't agree with it and don't use it, text speak is a popular form of communication that shortens letters and time spent writing a message, and still allows the user at the other end to understand it.

    I apologise on behalf of all graduates if you think that we must use perfect grammar and spelling everywhere outside of an interview, and fail to live up to your expectations!

    I'm a 25 year old IT graduate with a specialism in Networks. After finishing my degree, I then studied a masters using money I saved up during my degree to pay for it. After successfully completing my masters, I found myself in exactly the same boat as the two people above.

    My solution to this was perseverance.

    I applied for 80 jobs before gaining a job on an IT Helpdesk (which turned out to be a call centre). Despite the fact that the wage was less than the one I was on at HMV at uni, I gritted my teeth, put up with the poor hours and pay, and applied for 5 jobs every single day for 8 months before being snapped up by BT for a job of twice the wage.

    The quality of degrees is very variable. Mine taught me a lot about project management, time management, and a lot of the practical concepts that were required in my field. I learned a lot from it and continue to hold it in high regard. Employers know this, and aren't going to risk employing someone on the strength of a degree on it's own.

    My comments to those graduates or undergraduates looking at this post - don't despair. Keep studying, keep learning, and don't stop applying for jobs. Eventually your CV will land on the desk of someone who recognises your talent.

    And to CarolineOfBrunswick (and others), a lot of us graduates know that a degree doesn't entitle us to a job. We know that the world owes us nothing. Next time, try not to be so quick to judge and slow to understand when looking down your nose over the latest copy of the Daily Mail...

  • Comment number 64.

    @phil_mcracken - So you applied for a IT Helpdesk position, and it turned out to be a call centre position. So? I applied for a domestic engineer position once, turns out it was a cleaning job. Welcome to the real world.

    Also I must point out that not everyone who has commented here reads the Daily Maily or lives in Middle England, some of us read the Sun (only the pictures of course) and live in Essex.

    Whilst myself and others here (and I can only really speak for myself) have commented on the use of the English language, we have a reason to sneer, the language used in "text speak" is becoming increasingly used in everyday spoken conversations and our schools, or more to the point todays parents are not teaching their children that their version of the Queens English is not a good form of the Queens English.

    And have you ever frequented some online gaming lobbies and seen the language used in there, it's no wonder children think such language standard and acceptable English.

    It's all very well saying you persevered but your post seems to indicate that you begrudge the fact that you had to start at the bottom in a call centre before you were luckily "snapped up" by BT.

    Everybody has to start somewhere and the general image of "uni" students is that they feel they deserve a high paid job because they have a piece of paper.

    And the quote from KHZ "I graduated from uni in summer, have all the skills needed 4 a job an i cant get anything cuz of experience. I have a fultime job on minimum wage an i should b earning at least double! Vexes me propa.", especially the last sentence, just goes to prove that attitude is alive and well.

  • Comment number 65.

    I am in complete agreement with the last 2 bloggers.

    By creating easy examinations young people feel they have achieved but when they're out in the real world it hasn't become any easier at all so they find themselves failing.

    I have been employing people since 1993 and am continuously shocked at the standards of grammar and literacy that even Graduates have and I'm afraid there is NO way I would let them near my Company or my Clients. I started learning grammar in a 1970's Welsh Primary School and can still remember the lessons to this day!

    It is high time that the Government sorted out a proper education system and not one that is dumbed down, consequently giving people a false sense of achievement.


  • Comment number 66.

    Maybe if they learned to spell they'd have more chance of getting a job. If I received a job application filled out in the 'modern' way with numbers replacing words and other words shortened, sometimes to single letters, the application would go straight into the bin. My own daughter, (who is studying creative writing) keeps reminding me that language is constantly evolving and tells me not to be so judgemental and set in my ways - BUT - I DON'T LIKE IT !! and will never accept it. In the words of one of your contributors - it vexes me propa !!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Whereas I agree that there has been a "dumbing-down" of society, and young people in particular, to the point where being intelligent and articulate is just not cool, I have to balance things up a bit. My company employs a lot of young people in their 20s, mostly in sales roles. We don't require experience, just talent, and we spend a lot of money training them. The proportion of young people we see who are of good quality is no different than it used to be 20 or more years ago, and the results we get are outstanding - we have a large group of top performers. So please avoid generalising when it comes to young people, you will do us all a disservice.

  • Comment number 68.


    I agreed with your position on text-speak; I don't use it and never will. My point is that not all graduates are the illiterate unemployable slobs that the commenters on this blog seem to make out. Stop tarring us all with the same brush.

    My "helpdesk" position gave me valuable experience which is still of use to me today. I don't consider the fact that BT snapped me up "lucky", I consider it more to be the fact that I had gained the experience necessary for the role they were advertising. My employers certainly think so...

    I knew from day one that I would have to work to get to where I am now, and would have to gain experience first.

    Thats why I took a year's placement during my degree with a company. It's also why I studied an MSc, to give me an edge over every other person my age who has gone out and obtained a degree, regardless of its quality or relevance.

    If I can't get a job, I'm obviously not good enough for the position. If I'm not good enough, I take steps to better myself, whether that means gaining more experience or further qualifications. That has always been my attitude towards employment.

    I'll point it out again seeing as you missed it the first time round - the world owes me nothing. It certainly doesn't owe me a "decent" job. I've worked hard to get to where I am and will continue to do so.

    You are quick to point out that KHZ needs spelling and grammar lessons - I feel you could do with brushing up on your reading skills as well.

  • Comment number 69.

    Not wishing to sound too harsh but, as an employer, the general literacy and numeracy standards of many candidates for jobs I see are, frankly, shocking. I could just about live with that if the candidate had other attributes but many are also hopelessly inarticulate to boot! It's an employers' market right now so for people to come to interview ill-prepared, unable to spell the basics properly and answering questions in monosyllables means they are pretty unlikely to succeed.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm quite shocked by the levels of both literacy and arrogance displayed in the reported comments from young people.

    These, sadly, are the future of this country. They and their peer group will be in charge in no time at all - how on earth will they cope?

    Also it brings it home to me, rather abruptly, why it can be so difficult for well-educated, pleasant and slightly humble more-mature people to get work. Those sifting application forms might well see an ability to use English as a threat to their own position.

    Our children work on minimum wage to earn money for University - as a means to an end. They know (hope) their future prospects will be better, and it also gives them useful experience of going to work, following orders and also to some extend working independently. They don't believe they have the "right" to earn more, they believe such jobs are earned by merit.

    Unfortunately our children will be the future taxpayers who will support those with greater "rights" and no social responsibility who will be allowed to take the option of doing nothing throughout what should be their "working" lives - because they can.

  • Comment number 71.

    @phil_mcraken -

    Indeed I am not perfect in my grammar, punctuation or spelling and my reading skills are not always perfect either. I know that and I don't pretend otherwise, I have even said that in a previous comment.

    But the reason why so many people paint students with the same brush is because all too often we see students with the same "I've been to university I expect to land a job that pays a lot even though I've only just come out of university" attitude that KHZ seems to display in his/her text.

    If I text someone I use full English spelling and grammar (as best I can anyway) and I certainly would not have commented on the fact that I had only just left university in the summer and still wasn't earning as much as I think I should be, I'd be grateful for having a job, despite it being on minimum wage.

    You are in a minority of students that do not (or did not) expect a to land a top job straight out of university. Perhaps I did misinterpret your comment on your IT Helpdesk position though.

    But it does seem worrying that a lot of people who apparently are in a position to employ young people have posted here saying they wouldn't touch them with a barge pole due to the lack of good language skills.

    As someone who did not have the backing of well-off parents or the finances myself due to being unable to find employment in the first place to enable me to go to university when I left high school I find it absurd that I am better educated in many ways than many university graduates.

  • Comment number 72.

    i am an 18 year old currently in part-time employment and and college education, i have aims in my life and am on a direct path to my goal, it was suggested by someone that the uneplyed should join the services, well that is a little short sighted as the services have standards in place, mentally and physically, i have spent a week helping a freind aplly for the army to find he is medically unsound and thus cannot join, he is also currently homeless. i have checked and i am however fit to join the army as this is my goal then this suits me, i am however offended that people could suggest the army as a last resort, it doesnt want or need people with that attitude even with current recruitment rates

    the problem with employment is standards on the part of the employee, and the choice on the part of the employer

    the employee demanding too much too soon high wages for low effort and our economy cannot support this and nor will the employers choose to do so

    the employer has far too much choice and can demand people work for lower wages and create a climate of fear for those who try to enforce their rights

    education is not failing par-se but schools are not capable of dealing with those who cant or wont learn,

    and as for the immigration comment get over yourself, migrants are supporting an already overly large aging population, get rid of the migrants and wave goodby to much of the welfare that britain currently enjoys including the rather paltry pension

  • Comment number 73.

    i was one of thatchers children who left school in the very early eighties to confront the barren workscape. This was before the days of minimum wage and annual leave. every single employer i worked for exploited me mercilessly, despite proving to be very reliable, competent and a quick learner.

    In the end i left the UK for Oz where i quickly got work at 7 times the pay i received in the UK (yes, it was that low) for 10 hours a week less and 4 weeks paid holiday, i did not know such work existed. The rent i paid was a quarter of that paid in the UK and the cost of living roughly half. With this fairness in place i was able to get my first car (at 25) a degree and a house that did not cost 9 times my salary.
    the cost of everything in the uk is frankly a disgrace, as i say to my friends here 'the uk is a great place to go but you had better have money or at least a friend to stay with.'

    to those who critisize the spelling and punctuation of young people commenting on this story, i would like to remind you that this is a blog not a cover letter for a job. Stop the 'i'm alright jack' attitude and have some empathy for your fellow countrymen/women.

    The main thing to remember is to never give up, i know how hard that can be but if you do give up your whole world can get very dark, very quickly. some jobs that look poor on the face of it can (and surprisingly often do) open doors you never imagined existed.

    i wish everyone looking for work all the best for the coming year, it'll be harder than it has been lately but you are worth that opportunity and you do deserve it. go and get it.

  • Comment number 74.

    It's interesting listening to the various things people sayregarding the UK's unempolyment troubles. (The likely answer is "All of the Above", and a bit more. I'm from the USA, and I am employed, though not working full time. (Plus working my way through college...) I know of several people who have lost their jobs over here. Perhaps the BBC can doa program on teh world's unemployment crisis? After all, while the BBC's prime focus is on the UK, many of the causes (economic, social, industrial and political) are the same in other places.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    seriously why are two of your quotes from idiots who can't spell

    I am one of these young graduates who can't find a job (just got laid off while temping btw) and it's quite disheartening - I was cheered by your article pointing out that it's become very common this year, and then you feel it's appropriate to showcase all young people as talking like inner-city 'youff's - you're not doing anyone a favour

    As for the soldier boy - yes we could all join the army for some guaranteed employment, but not all of us agree with doing it, I could never join the military and would rather shelf stack than do that (not that we could all* join anyway)

  • Comment number 77.


    Ah, selling. Something that relies largely on determination and persistence and used to be best when the seller believed in the product.

    Certainly it needs a quick mind of a certain kind, but not always the best kind. There has been recent publicity concerning energy companies' sellers committing fraud - they were no doubt amongst the top performers and the practice they use has been around for over a decade. It is not selling and yet, if you speak to an energy company about it, you'll be informed that ALL their sellers are highly trained and professional. I fell victim to a phone call where I asked for a guarantee in writing that I would save 15% on my current energy bill by switching which is what the seller claimed. No letter but I was switched when I gave absolutely no authority to do so. It took me over a year to get compensation and get switched back.

    Now not all sellers are fraudulent but far too many today are. It may not cut along age lines either but it is an indicator of just how management works to deliver targets these days. There is no skill or talent in fraud of that kind, nor in the control exercised by their supervisors. Unfortunately dumbing down is with us in all walks of life and I am very sorry for the many youngsters who get sucked into it. They deserve a lot better from the rest of us. I am angry with my own generation for making so very many ill judged changes to the way we bring children up. If any of you are "failures" then it is our fault as much as yours.

  • Comment number 78.


    I think the point that is being made about university degrees is that they have always been suspect if the holder does not fit the bill. Even fifty years ago people were expected to get a degree just by walking through the gates in certain places, but serious degrees did require a certain amount of input.

    These days the Internet has made things much easier and so the degree has been devalued both in the university and in society in general from a pretty shaky starting point. That is not to knock the graduates but to knock the system that produces the graduates. When higher education was turned into a business model it suffered the obvious. A college or university can turn out sub-standard tutors and still make a killing. It can take on bad students and still make money.

    Turning this into a political battle is a tough one since the Tories started the rot and New Labour backed it to the hilt. Unfortunately our two major parties have nothing but contempt for the public services, just another facet of dumbing down. We will not sort the mess out for at least a generation even if we start now.

    We must get back to the idea that testing is OK and failing an exam means nothing outside that exam. The whole expectation malarkey is out of hand, with many parents seeming totally unable to handle having a child who is less than a genius. Society is equally guilty of failing to deliver equality of opportunity despite all the legislation introduced to do otherwise. The "old boys, school ties, friend of a friend" lives on, perhaps even more entrenched now than it has ever been. The guilt, blame, compensation society we have inherited from across the Pond is layered on top of all the old prejudices and newspapers, like the Daily Mail, are just stoking the fire to keep people away from changing the status quo. See through that and you'll start to make an impression on what is really wrong.

  • Comment number 79.

    There's not necessarily anything wrong with 'textspeak' or slang in itself - most of us adjust the formality and style of our language depending on the situation and who we're talking to. The important thing is being able to judge a situation and behave or speak or write in the appropriate way. That's the problem with the 'complainers' mentioned in the article. If they didn't realise that at least trying to use proper spelling and grammar might be a good idea when writing to the BBC or a newspaper with a comment for publication, especially if they wanted their thoughts to be taken seriously, the chances are that they have the same approach to writing their resume or a letter to a prospective employer! In which case it's hardly surprising they aren't getting any job offers.

  • Comment number 80.


    I agree. I find "text" quite taxing even on a PC let alone a mobile phone, and admire those who can perform wonders on a tiny keypad with their nimble thumbs and fingers. But that isn't the point is it? There is a place for everything. Amongst friends in a casual, social setting the "unwritten rules" are set by the group over the course of time and everyone learns where the boundaries lie. So it is on the Internet where a blog will be read by a variety of people not just those who can read a form of shorthand.

    Unfortunately our schools are producing many who do not seem to have the necessary skills to understand when to deliver appropriately. Young people have always had to grow into the "unwritten rules" that society has, and it is just like a rite of passage. Break a rule and you will not get what you want. It is a simple development of learning through experience. The more you ignore the rules the tougher it gets. Of course you can move to places that have different rules until you find your niche but you will not find it easy to change the minds of those who have seen far too many just like you already. There is always the exception that proves the rule but is it really so hard to conform occasionally?

  • Comment number 81.

    #1 I agree entirely. In the case of K.H.Z. that person seems to think that the world owes them a living just because they happened to go to 'Uni'.
    That attidude and their apparent unwillingness/inability to use proper English grammar instead of the sloppy txtspeak displayed is hardly likely to send the job offers flooding in.
    It's hard to believe that K.H.Z underwent a University level education and the result is the routine use of such sloppy grammar.

  • Comment number 82.

    University is about learning how to learn.

    Not the ability to criticise another's bad grammar.

    It is very doubtfull that one who criticices another's speak has ever trodden upon a university step.

  • Comment number 83.

    Never mind the grammar that young people are using on internet message boards... How about the language skills of BBC journalists?

    Was this woman really suffering from hyperthermia after ten days in the boot of a car in Scotland during the winter?

  • Comment number 84.

    OK, corrected 15 minutes later. Hypothermia it was, apparently - seems more likely!

  • Comment number 85.


    Just to state the obvious. Learning to learn starts at school. If people who have attained good standards in languages were not able to correct our errors then there would be no commonly understood languages. And without the basics how do you intend to ever aspire to being someone who knows what they are talking about?

  • Comment number 86.

    #82, you are correct. I didn't go to University. As you say, University is a place for learning. But it makes one wonder what exactly is being learned when someone can complete a university level education and fail to know how to use basic English grammar. I'm actually glad I didn't go, a degree isn't worth what it was a few years ago. I have a good job and can string sentences together so it's all good.

    I'm not trying to be complacent here, but what employers are looking for is not necessarily reams of academic qualifications, but the ability to use correct grammar and spelling, a willingness to work hard and some experience of actually doing the job at hand and a willingness to learn.
    Adopt the right attitude and there are jobs out there, even in the current climate.

  • Comment number 87.

    I can sympathise with many of these people. You can go through your youth trying your best, working hard and getting the best results but this seems to count for nothing in the jobs market and this makes me annoyed at the injustice and arbitrary nature of job allocation. If you can get 10 A* GCSEs, 5 "A" A levels and a First Class degree and can prove yourself in an interview, you should automatically get a top job to prove yourself in. Why then are these people sometimes left jobless or on minimum wage when they have worked so hard and are so talented??

    Why should someone who failed their way through school but knows a few people and has a few basic skills be more likely to get a job than someone who has a way higher IQ, work ethic and passed all their exams with flying colours?

    Employers and Universities should be made to work together to ensure talented people get jobs where their skills can be used to benefit society.

  • Comment number 88.

    #86- You make a very good point.
    Employers seek commitment and positivity just as much as diplomas and degrees. In fact, in my opinion they will be much more hard-pressed to find the former pair of attributes than the latter.
    Returning to (the North of) England to visit my family I was struck by the utter lack of motivation in the vast majority of young people I encountered in work. They ranged from the sullen girl who looked at me as if I'd run over her cat when i asked her to heat up the stone cold latte she had just served me, to the gossiping, gum chewing sales assistants in just about every high street shop whose bankrupcy my trade would help to stave off.
    This would matter less if they were good at their jobs. Unfortunately it seems that a university education actually mentally regresses people. I have no idea if it is an act and they are really intelligent and witty, but many I came across seemed to wear their moronic faces of non comprehension like medals.
    Of course there are exceptions, and they stand out like beacons. These people, in whatever job currently occupy, need to be reassured that despite the doom that is so widely purveyed, there is hope, specifically because of the laziness and ineptitude of the majority. Whatever level of academic achievement you have, there is quality in some people which WILL be recognised, sooner or later. Whether your quality is charm, tenacity or intellect, you will succeed. Whilst it is patently untrue to say that there is equal opportunity for all, it is equally so to argue that anyone at all has none whatsoever.
    It pains me to say this about the country I love, but England is struggling. Eleven years of economic mismanagement and dubious ethics in politics has left the more impressionable factions in society prone to exactly the same faults. I left the country less than a year ago and already feel like a foreigner. The downturn has been just that dramatic.
    On the topic of text language, it angers me somewhat to see it spoken of as a justifiable alternative to actual English. Its origins (with a few notable execptions) come not from efficiency or speed, merely the fact the its largely phonetic nature covers up for those people who cannot read and write properly at a shockingly advanced age. It should never be sanctioned in any official environment.
    To anticipate some of the personal insults I envisage in response to my comments, I am 24, attended a comprehensive school and now work for a large multinational company.

  • Comment number 89.

    I am in complete agreement with the last 2 bloggers.

    By creating easy examinations young people feel they have achieved but when they're out in the real world it hasn't become any easier at all so they find themselves failing.


    OK enough already. I can say that as a 29 year old I have looked at the exam papers for Maths and sciences for the last 20 years, they are not 'easier' each year at all.

    In fact often the same questions with differing parameters show up year after year.

    The fact is that teachers are getting better at tutoring kids to pass exams, rather than offering a broader range of useful teaching. Many kids come from school perfectly able to do pure maths but lacking in any real ability to apply that to the real world, same with sciences and other topics. I was lucky in that I kept nagging some teachers until they explained to me why this equation worked or why that scientific principle was true instead of blindly following.

    Most kids are actually just as smart, a lot even smarter than when I was in school, even problem kids have been helped a lot more than in my day. Their qualifications are deserved and earned, however they have missed out on many of the other things that you should learn growing up. Many turn into insolents because they are denied any platform to question while growing up. I was repeatedly told just to accept things as they were told to me by teachers and other adults who wanted to treat me like an imbecile just because I was under 21, luckily for me I did not and eventually found some who were impressed enough by my determination to actually help push me further than the othrs around me.

    This has carried me further into my life, I had a decided advantage over my peers because I had taken part in other activities that showcased my leadership skills and potential for innovation, mot of which were only available because I dared to speak my mind at an early age. That kids are not taught to be individuals like this is one of the main failings of our current schooling system.

    (and yes i'm sure you can pick out 30 spelling errors in this response, thats what spell checkers are for :o))

  • Comment number 90.

    Whatever level of academic achievement you have, there is quality in some people which WILL be recognised, sooner or later. Whether your quality is charm, tenacity or intellect, you will succeed.


    Exactly. There are good people out there, including kids, they deserve and will be given the chance to succeed. Those who are not should look at these examples as something to aspire to, not as they currently do as geeks/nerds/swots/whatever todays word is for them. Don't turn your nose up and bully the kid in the band who is taking part in the young enterprise scheme and going to after school clubs because they are the ones with the drive and commitment to succeed.

  • Comment number 91.

    There appears to be a rather big problem if our examination system is not picking up real talent. It was not designed to root out IQ as one blogger implies since IQ is a variable that can change in a rather volatile way amongst those of teenage years. IQ is also a very imprecise measurement of ability since it only picks up potential. Talent is normally picked up in the "difference" a person presents in some way. It may be a novel CV, a mannerism or trait that is obvious upon meeting, a bearing or charisma that draws people towards them but it is seldom (outside academic environments) just a piece of paper that indicates potential.

    Employers at a certain level have always looked for experience. Unfortunately for graduates that experience is required for most of the non-specific jobs that may be sought when you leave university. But students can work while at university and discover that their six month stint in a retail outlet, a bar, a restaurant or even as a street cleaner, will give them an advantage. A part of the issue for a potential employer is just what you expected to do once you leave university with your degree. You have to convince that you were being realistic and not just "expecting" to find a job. So if you can be yourself, be honest, be confident and be interesting all at the same time you enhance your chances. What you cannot expect however is to land a job easily. The only people who do that have family in a business or some other helping hand.

  • Comment number 92.


    Digressing slightly but I think the whole of the BBC needs to understand the difference between Hyper and Hypo-thermia.


    "For a start the oil means their feathers aren't waterproofed so if they get wet the water gets through to the skin so they can get cold and die of hyperthermia - perhaps not so much of a concern in this weather but they still can die of cold.

    Die of cold from Hyperthermia?

    All night asleep outside in January and suffers from Hyperthermia?

    This one might be both.

    Then there is this:

    No doubt if this comment is posted these will all be changed, but it isn't hard to find plenty of examples of lack of knowledge on this subject from the BBC. I wonder how many of these journalists are graduates?

  • Comment number 93.

    unemployment is going to reach levels unheard of.the army will need plenty of recruits as widespread civil disorder erupts as the economy as we know it collapses.

  • Comment number 94.

    81 middle-englander

    Well put it this way, if he'd gone to my uni, which was a real and respected uni (but not oxbridge) he would've failed if he used language like that - if he'd written in via text maybe i'd forgive him, but from his use of rasta language he doesn't seem to have grasped the concept of formal writing, which you should be taught at any decent uni

    half the problem with higher education is that there are too many unis and degrees that have been created in an effort to give everyone a university education - which has devalued the whole experience and required a lot of bright people to keep going til masters level

    be interesting to know which unis these guys went to

  • Comment number 95.

    I have to say my flabber is completely ghasted!
    Yes, I appreciate that employers will look for experience, but that is nothing new. It was the same when I was 18 - I'm now just under 40. If you have to train someone then you don't pay them as much, it's basic economics.
    I didn't go to university, it was just not a financially viable option, I had to go to work and I started at the bottom.
    It hasn't been easy. Just after I bought my first house I was made redundant. I worked two jobs, one up to my ankles in freezing cold water chopping vegetables and the other in a bar because there was no other work. In both places minimum wage was just a lovely dream.
    I put myself through further education in my own time, I went out and knocked on doors delivering my c.v. in person. When I was given the smallest opportunity I worked extremely flippin' hard. I now have experience comming out of my ears and am actually being headhunted on a regular basis. I command a rather pleasant salary, in a professional role and am an employer myself.
    I have been shocked by candidates who cannot spell, cannot add up and have the get up and go of a five week dead fish.
    And they wonder why they don't get the job!
    I'm not unusual or even especially lucky. There are young people out there who doing exactly the same. They realise everyone has to start somewhere. They are the ones with the jobs, they are the ones who will make a success of their lives, with or without a degree. And the sooner the rest of them stop whining for sympathy and wake up and 'like smell the double chocca frappe with an extra shot' the better.

  • Comment number 96.

    Dear H. Bell:

    "Why should anyone do a task without a modicum of job satisfaction, is that so employers can make pots of money while paying minimum wage"

    Why shouldn't anyone do jobs without job satisfaction? If they couldn't be bothered do work hard enough to gain the qualifications/experience for the jobs they want, then why do they automatically deserve one? There are the more menial jobs out there - who do you propose we get to do those?

    "a college is a college, a university is a university, degrees wherever obtained should be respected"

    Study at a decent university and at a third-rate one is quite different. The pace of study and how hard you're worked differ entirely, not to mention what you learn and how well you learn it. If you couldn't work hard enough at school to push yourself into somewhere decent then you've only yourself to blame.

    "Its the fake labour activists, middle & upper class twits who are this country's biggest problem in thinking that by closing down industries that made the billions the country was built on the future would be all office rosy"

    Take another look. It wasn't the upper-class who clamoured for so much money that the industries were forced to shut down because they could no longer be competitive.

  • Comment number 97.

    The young do not understand that workers have rights, fought for by generations, Governments since Thatcher have eroded these rights and Labour are the worst culprits, they are the political party that the Unions fund. Unions, are the ones that should be protecting and informing the young of their rights. £45 per weak on Job Seekers allowance is not enough to live on, no matter how much propaganda the paper spar ff that is what an unemployed individual gets and £96 for a couple. £5. 60 per hour dose not cover the cost of living in Britain to day. Crime pays, Prison is a rest bite from the traumas of the real world, in the absence of a fair days pay for a fair days work, we have permitted to flourish in this they call capitalism. A Free Market Has Produces Willing Slaves That The Criminal World Has Inherited.

  • Comment number 98.

    Many people posting comments here deplore the attitude of students who expect to walk into a good well paid job just because they have a bit of paper from a university. But the reason they have this expectation is because parents, teachers, career advisors and lecturers motivate them to continue there studies by telling them about the huge salaries they will earn once they are qualified. It's hardly surprising that they become bitter and disillusioned when they find out they have been conned. We need to stop over selling further education to young people. We also need to stop confusing further education with job training. With the exceptions of law and medicine studying for a degree does not train you to do a job.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes there are jobs, 600,000 according to Government Cabinet ministers as given on the show "Question Time" However there are 1.8 million unemployed which means assuming the best - people matched to jobs and all vacancies filled - there will still be 1.2 million unemployed for whom a JOB DOES NOT EXIST.

    Both the young and older workers can tell you real stories about trying to get work, and the factual statistics will show that it is harder for these groups to get work.

    Sadly we live under an economic system - capitalism - that not only causes unemployment, as at present, but has never been able to create jobs for all, for the simple reason jobs are created in order to create profits (or are in the service industries that are part of the infrastucture of the economic system) for a small percentage of the population and not for the use or benefit to the community per se.

    As long as capitalism exists there will be unemployment - it is part of its inherent workings, just as recession is. Yes there are folks unequipped for job getting, sadly there are also clever hard working folk who can not get jobs they are trained for and qualified for as there are not enough jobs available for them.

    Until we get away from pretending that unemployment is the total fault of the unemployed (and admittedly for a small percentage that may be the case) then we can not look at the real solution, which would involve looking very hard at the economic system we live under and asking why the majority of the worlds population are working merely to enrich a small minority of human beings.

  • Comment number 100.

    The levels of arrogance, pedantry and ageism in many of the comments on this entry is astounding...

    I am 22 and my sister is 20. Neither of us has any trouble forming complete sentences which are grammatically correct and use appropriate, accurate spelling and punctuation. I went to a grammar school - obtained one of the very last Government Assisted Places in the country, in fact, before they were scrapped by Labour in 1997. My sister attended the same school on a bursary for two years before we could no longer afford it and she had to move to a state school. In the state school in question, her new best friend smoked cannabis behind the school building at break-time, and many people who left school at the same time I did (I transferred there for the last few months of my school life due to bullying) left without grades A-C in GCSE.

    My sister and I, however, are literate, intelligent, determined and under 25, yet she cannot find a job with a wage on which she can live (I am disabled by FMS, EDS, migraines and bipolar disorder). She suffers from severe and chronic depression along with a mechanical back injury and oncoming early osteoporosis; she has to work around these problems, and despite her fluency with language and how good she is with people, as well as the fact that she'd be on the 18-21 minimum wage (which, by the way, I think is very unfair - why should people of that age earn less money than older people for the same work?), she cannot find an employer at all, even part-time, because nobody seems to be able to handle her health problems.

    (Yes, I know I have a tendency to run-on sentences. Your point is...?)

    With regard to the comments made about spelling, it's quite possible that the above-mentioned young people were abbreviating their comments to send them by text message, and, even if they weren't, one shoots oneself in the foot by complaining about spelling errors while going on to make so many of one's own. ;)


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