It is welcome that there is, at least, a national mood of concern about the rise and rise of unemployment among the under 25s. They were not to blame for the economic mistakes made by Government, business and consumers. Most have done their best in the education system on the promise that their efforts would be rewarded, a promise that is now being broken. And we worry not only that young people with no money and no purpose will get into bad ways, but that a life on benefits is an easy habit to pick up and a hard one to kick.
Peter Mandelson said yesterday that youth unemployment was a problem which requires commitment from all quarters to be solved. He would say that wouldn't he? Yet, this is the kind of challenge to which the RSA has responded over its long history.
So here's an idea (with the implication of some help from HQ if it was taken up); how about RSA groups in towns and cities organising civic youth jobs summits? These would be events for the public, private and voluntary sector plus motivated individuals including a targetted cross section of young people themselves.
The events would start with an initial presentation about the nature of the problem and some of the ways local initiatives could tap into national funding streams. Such a presentation should be available from the RDA, the council or from a number of national bodies (and we will have Fellows in most of these organistions). It would then use an open space format to develop ideas but with an emphasis on people developing plans they are themselves willing to implement. If more than one groups of Fellows were willing to take this forward the RSA could create a web space to link together those working on events and developing ideas.
How about it? It is certainly the kind of initiative that would have made the RSA founders proud.
In his fifth post for the RSA Living Change Campaign, Matthew Taylor explores some of the implications of the framework he has outlined over the last month and asks why ideas like these aren’t more widely known and used.
As we emerge from Covid-19, Ruth Hannan argues there is an opportunity to shift from short-term solutions to approaches based on deeper understanding of citizens’ needs and which focus on systemic change.
If young people are to flourish in this new world of rapid change and insecurity, we need policies that support young people in the here and now, whilst also protecting their futures. Thinking about economic security is one way to do this.