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The Government's new Youth Contract: what do you think?

(164 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Nov-11 12:04:51


You may have seen/heard that Nick Clegg has announced today a £1billion Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment.

The Youth Contract includes, among other things, subsidised work and training placements, and a programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17-year-olds get back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training. You can read more about it here.

The Cabinet Office has just been in touch with us at MNHQ to ask us what Mumsnetters think about these plans. So we've said we'll start a thread to find out.

Please do tell!

realhousewife Thu 01-Dec-11 11:41:35

Mine was 'The Television Typing Centre' in Oxford Street. Learnt to type in 2 weeks and was never short of work. Different skills require now though. Those were the days... manual typewriters and an ashtray on every desk.

swallowedAfly Thu 01-Dec-11 09:43:44

the business was called " 'X' commercial training" and the agency downstairs was called starting off. it was quite an efficient thing they had going on actually being able to feed each other business/candidates. and despite going on to do post grad study etc i will NEVER regret learning to type and some basic computing smile

realhousewife Wed 30-Nov-11 22:13:17

SAF that sounds like a really good scheme you were on. Colleges should be linked in with employers. It makes the college more accountable, ensuring they turn out kids that know the meaning of timekeeping etc, and gives the business a better reputation.

GrendelsMum Tue 29-Nov-11 17:51:24

I think Realhousewife makes a good point about the generation who learnt Russian rather than English at school - we find you only have to have one person around the table during a sales presentation who feels their business English is a bit patchy, before the group as a whole are extremely chuffed that you can present in German instead. And there are plenty of people who feel pissed off enough if they've got a problem with the product they've bought, without having to explain it in a foreign language.

I know just what you mean about the use of young cheap Germans to do the jobs which need purely language skills, though. It's when you need language skills plus other stuff that it gets tricky.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 11:38:13

actually we would have still been in near recession times then wouldn't we? and yet there were jobs for us to go to - even if constant rounds of typing/data entry/filing etc.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 11:36:21

i (upon dropping out of my a'levels when i had a lot going on as a teen and before returning to academic study later) got myself on a course to do business admin and typing and wordprocessing skills. it was a ten week course and there was a scheme out then whereby i got paid £40pw to do it. i was about 16/17 and living at home so it was doable financially - just enough money to pay my bus fares and lunches and the odd pack of ciggies etc and feel like i had money in my pocket and i was doing real, practical, transferrable qualifications that would put something real under my belt at the end.

that, for me, at that time was good. that would be an answer for some. the agency that did the training was above an employment agency for young people with the same management and they then got kids into work if they could after. a private enterprise but getting some training money from a scheme and we got the money from whatever the payment scheme was back in the early nineties.

that is a very, very different matter than being told you have to go stack shelves at tescos for 2 months with no qualifications or recognised skills or a job coming out of it at the end.

Betelguese Tue 29-Nov-11 10:57:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Tue 29-Nov-11 10:46:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 10:02:29

i guess it's a vicious circle. my sisters main language (because of living there for over a decade) is french and she can find very little in this country. i suspect there's not the job market and there's not the skills are linked very closely. the skills aren't really going to come up if there aren't good jobs out there for the taking to make it worth investing in the skills (eg HE choices) and the jobs aren't likely to come up if there aren't skilled natives to take them - they'll find ways round it like employing from overseas or yes, relying on their contacts to work in english confused

this is a bit of a detour sorry - interesting stuff though thereal.

realhousewife Tue 29-Nov-11 09:46:25

I don't think it's rewarded here because Germans get the better training, so get all the jobs (when it comes to specialised stuff) and UK businesses have relied on German businesses speaking our language. Another issue with Germany is that the East Germans all learnt Russian as a second language, so when doing business in the old East you really do need to know their language. Much of the manufacturing goes on in the old East, and the older generation (probably now the managers of those businesses) will be dependent on other people speaking german to them.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 09:34:35

yes it's all very specialised isn't it? i appreciate that from talking to my sister. she worked for a massive legal firm and it's obviously a whole language of it's own and there is no room for error when you are translating legal documents that hundreds of thousands of pounds could rest on shock

glad you back up that it's hard to use language skills here realhouse - it sounds like it should be such a great skill but it isn't much rewarded in this country.

realhousewife Tue 29-Nov-11 08:45:22

I'm bilingual German and used to find that whenever I talked to Germans they spoke better English than me so didn't get the opportunity to use it. I found that jobs using my language skills were poorly paid because they tended to use less demanding German workers, usually young and with no commitments.

But German has a 'business language' that is quite distinct to the conversational and literary language that we learn here at in school and in my case, at home.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 08:04:56

her other friend who had a similar education and work experience through his 20's with a successful career with a big company in germany has now ended up as a modern foreign languages teacher. my sis has even found herself contemplating doing the same for a secure (albeit reduced) income. neither of them upon returning to england with family commitments could find any real suitable/equable employment in the uk which came as a big shock to me because surely we have to do big business with european countries and we don't expect them constantly to be working in english? it's weird.

swallowedAfly Tue 29-Nov-11 08:01:33

it's 4 year thinking isn't it? again and again. all scheming their next spin bollocks election campaign while all around rome burns.

grendel my sister is fluent in french and german, has worked doing legal translations and in various specialised industries so extremely skilled language wise and very at ease with dealing with technical language etc. she's also looking for a career change after leaving a very big company to go out on her own free lancing for a while. mid 40's, highly experienced, has worked in other european capitals and very, very good with people. can i send her to you?

because weirdly those who do have these skills find it very hard to find work that makes use of them here in england. easy when they are living overseas but she has struggled to find anything of the same level of skill use as she had in paris.

sorry - random tangent.

and yes it is utter madness in a climate where we don't have enough unskilled labour to go round to be cutting HE budgets and discouraging most young people from going into HE. maybe they should consider ways to encourage HE in particular subjects/skill areas and incentivise kids to go into them and get industry on side too in playing it's part in contributing towards the training of the labour it will use whether that be through financial contributions, sponsorship or providing high quality training placements for students.

GrendelsMum Mon 28-Nov-11 22:20:38

<Sorry, just going to have a bit of a rant now, without much relevance to the question>

It's the bloody languages that are such a problem. We've given up even hoping that British job applicants will actually be able to speak a foreign language fluently. We're now just hoping that they can brush up rusty A-level German and so on enough to write an email which will not utterly disgrace the company. Trying to find someone who can go into a company in another European company and sell to them is like hens' teeth. It's the feeling that they could have studied this at school or University and didn't which is so frustrating.

And English spelling, and grammar, and being able to construct a polite email or letter in appropriately formal language. Again, they could have learnt most of this in school, and didn't.

<rant over>

Having said all that, we do have a couple of young graduates who have many many excellent qualities, are (when well managed) very hard working, and are intelligent and quick to learn. One of them recently finished her first successful project, and we took the team out for cocktails to celebrate. They do have real potential - it's just that they need quite a bit more handholding to get there, and sometimes the hidden costs of training and support mean its more cost efficient to hire someone with those extra 5 years or so more experience.

breadandbutterfly Mon 28-Nov-11 21:54:08

Clearly, as there is a mismatch between skills needed by employers like GrendelsMum and those offered by young people in the UK, young people need to be trained to meet those needs, either by the companies concerned (with taxpayer support if need be) or by our education system prior to employment.

Instead, the govt favours reducing our native skills base still further, by cutting higher education budgets, whilst relying (implicitly, if not admitting as much) on importing the skilled workers we need while UK workers remain unemployed. Or on moving all UK-based manufacturing abroad, to areas with cheaper and more highly-skilled workforces. Neither of which is good for the UK economy and UK benefits' bills, long-term.

Absolutely no joined-up thinking going on here.

breadandbutterfly Mon 28-Nov-11 21:47:51

But Betelgeuse - of course you are right, but your posts assume the govt actually wants to make a long-term positive difference to either the kids on these schemes or the economy. Sadly, neither is true - this new plan exists only to enrich companies like Tesco even further, at taxpayers' expense, and to fiddle the youth employment figures. Plus the large-scale availability of cheap labour via these schemes should proably help to keep wage levels down too - great for the Tories' rich backers. Not so good for the ordinary people doing the jobs, obviously.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 20:29:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 20:19:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

realhousewife Mon 28-Nov-11 20:07:11

Grendelsmum, the difference between Germany and us, is that German businesses are not run by shareholders and therefore do not have to provide profitable returns on a quarterly or annual basis. German businesses are able to commit to long term planning sometimes over 10 or 20 years because they are only accountable to themselves and their employees. I'm not an expert - there was a programme about this on radio 4 about the pencil companies - Staedtler, Stabilo etc.

ooo here it is -

amicissima Mon 28-Nov-11 19:56:55

But the UPVC windows, for example, are cheaper. You can see all around that people buy them. Are there a lot of people around who feel they can afford the traditional products? I don't deny they are better and longer lasting, I just doubt there is enough demand at the moment to keep many people in decent employment.

Betelguese, I applaud your friends and your DS's friends. Unfortunately not everybody has the confidence or initiative to set up their own business. They need to find employment. Some of them are not terribly attractive to employers, particularly at a time when jobs are scarce. We know this because of the high numbers of young people who are unemployed, some graduates, some not. The government is trying to help these unemployed people be in a position to compete with those who have some experience in the workplace.

The scheme may not be perfect, but I know I can't come up with something better. If you, or anyone, can, please suggest it to the government ASAP, before ever more young people get entrenched in demoralising unemployment.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:16:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:07:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:06:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

swallowedAfly Mon 28-Nov-11 18:57:12

amicissima - yes there are lots of people at tesco grateful for their jobs but they are jobs as in the 'real' jobs i meant as in jobs rather than short training placements that offer no 'job' at the end of it. you see the difference no?

cheap labour that doesn't even equal a job is not like doing low paid basic jobs to get by whilst you're young as we/many of us did. there is a distinct difference. the kids can't get those jobs that we luckily got and got us by because there aren't any. and there will be even less if the likes of tesco's are getting their shelves stacked by kids without a proper salary and zero employee rights.

you might need to rethink your ideas of lucky and gratitude. your dd was lucky to get a minimum wage job in the current climate. those without a degree going for the same minimum wage job didn't stand a chance presumably given the employers could pick from graduates.

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