Friday, August 10, 2012

Youth unemployment

I am sorry.  Did I miss something in this news report?

ABC 7.30 Report

I watched this report last night by reporter Heather Ewart.  As a mother I was interested to see what the plight of our youth is, with regards to the employment situation.  Although it does not concern me directly, both my sons have jobs and are studying, it does concern me that we (as a society, not we as in individuals) have created a generation that has bad attitude to working.

I see this all the time in my own business.  We try and employ young people, we like to give them a chance and help their career and guide them.  A huge number of them, when interviewed, have a terrible attitude to work.  They have grown up thinking the world is theirs to take, they don't need to try hard, or make an effort (I can't tell you how many candidates turn up to an interview in a hoodie, or with piercings all over their face, AND this is when they turn up at all!).  It's not like we are running a sweat shop, or even manual labour - we are interviewing them to be a computer technician.

Most have NO people skills, mumble, have done no research about our company, have a vague idea of what the job is, don't like the fact they have to start at the bottom and, in our opinion, are unemployable.  I get the impression that most of them are just going through the motions of applying for a job so they can fulfill their dole requirements.  Where have we failed them?

Of course not ALL youth are like this, we have three working for us now that are wonderful lads. They work hard, are respectful, dress well, and when asked to take the bin out (and yes, we ask everyone, including myself) they don't roll their eyes and sigh and complain.  We work hard with these boys, give them training, older mentors, a career path and emotional support when needed.  They are like our own sons.  My own sons both have very good work ethics, both had partime jobs in high school, both worked while they were at Uni, both now have very promising careers.  They were taught that you start at the bottom and work your way to the top, earning respect not demanding it.  My eldest son started his career in politics by volunteering, lots of unpaid but appreciated work.

So when I saw this young chap on the 7.30 Report lamenting the fact he can't get a job, I felt kinda sad for him.  Until it came to light that he can't find a job as the only one he wants is to be a film director!!  This is what he is studying, and this is his career!  Are you kidding me?  He was shown some manual jobs by a peer, that he declined, he said he was desperate for a job, yet appears on national television wearing a hoodie, tracksuits pants and a bad attitude.  Had he dressed neatly, changed his attitude and said he was willing to try anything, I am sure there would have been employers out there that would have given him a go. What on earth are his career guidance officer, let alone his parents, telling him?

I blame this boys parents, although I don't think they realise what they have done.  It seems so trendy these days to tell your teenagers the same fairytale you told them when they were little.  The princess always gets the handsome prince, the puppy will be saved, the tooth fairy will pay you.  Now they get told they can do anything in the world they want to do, the skies the limit.  If you don't have talent, that's ok, you can put something on YouTube and get 'discovered'.  All very well and touchy-feely, but its not how the world works.  This lad had probably been told that if he wanted to be a film director, then all he had to do was go to college and study to be one.  It was his dream and who are we to tell him otherwise? 

This 'boy' is 19.  A few generations ago, 19 was a man.  With a man's responsibilities.  If the reporter of this story could only find this lad as an example of how bad the youth unemployment is, then I would suggest her story is pretty flimsy. 

My youngest son is a musician.  He is a very good one, was accepted into WAPA (Western Australian Performing Arts) to play Bass.  Its very hard to get in, the musicians then work, and compete, to stay in and complete their degree. He has been there for 5 years now, and in his final year of becoming a music teacher.  Of course, being an artist, he has always dreamed of being a musician, making it big, earning a living from his passion.  And although he is very good, is in a very successful band, even he knows that there is a reality out there.  We would never quash his dreams (and I truly hope one day they do come true for him), but we also have a duty as parents to keep his feet on the ground and teach him how to keep food on his table.


I have told my husband that I am quitting my job and going back to uni to follow my dream of being a writer.  I won't take any job that does not employ me to write, in fact I want to be a freelance writer, with a sun filled studio and a book contract.  He will just have to support me, while I wait for my dream job to come along.  I will not accept that I may not be a good enough writer, its my dream and the world owes it to me.  I will live happily ever after and marry the handsome prince (oh wait, I already did that bit ;-)

The End.

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