How Government cuts are hitting young UK job hunters

Article published on May 15, 2015
Article published on May 15, 2015

One in five young people – around 5.5 million citizens – in the EU are unable to find work; many more do jobs for which they are overqualified.

Youth unemployment regularly hits the headlines across Europe – but what are the stories behind the statistics?

The third article of a multi-part report from Bucharest and London:

The ambition of the EU’s Youth Guarantee, an initiative that’s trying to get every young European under 25 a good-quality, concrete offer within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed, is increasingly been seen as unrealistic.

In part two, we heard about the concerns of Alexandru Nistor, a 21 year-old cybernetics student in Bucharest, regarding the relevance of education and training for young job-seekers.

Some of his peers in London aren’t much more positive. A musician and artist who goes by the DJ name Mob Mobs, aged 21, is studying business management because, he says, “I’d like to be able to incorporate that into my art so I can not only be appreciated for what I do but also make money from it.” His experience of careers support is that “services are limited in London – there are not a lot of places you can go for extra help and the places that are there, nobody knows about,” he says.

Mob Mobs (21), a musician and artist who’s been involved with the youth charity Raw Material in Brixton, London, talks about young people’s career expectations and his own dreams for the future:

Mob Mobs is making the most of the classes at Raw Material, a music and media charity for young people in Brixton. But such services struggle to fund their work. Raw Material recently had almost 100% of its funding from the local authorities cut, according to Potent Whisper, a rap musician and one of the trainers and youth leaders there. Round the corner in Brixton is the Baytree Centre, which offers education and personal development services to women and girls, and has been running since the 1980s.

“We know so many similar organisations who’ve closed down – we are just about surviving,” says Christine Christofi, academic manager and English tutor at Baytree. The English classes the centre offers used to be free – serving the large immigrant population in the neighbourhood – but that’s impossible now: government funding has all gone, she says.

Potent Whisper knows what it’s like to be at the rough end of that job search. The musician – who’s half Greek and half-Irish, though born and raised in the UK – has had numerous jobs, from door to door fundraising to selling phone contracts or home insurance. And he becomes visibly riled when talking about his experience with job centres.

“I felt like a box that needed to be ticked, I felt like no one cared about me”, he says. No one wanted to genuinely help me, they just wanted to give me a certain amount of options to apply for, even if they weren’t suitable for me. I don’t think in my heart they really care whether we get the jobs or not.”

Stay tuned for the next part of this in-depth series by Anna Patton and Lorelei Mihala as they talk to young Londoners about the obstacles they face when searching for work! Read Parts One, TwoFourFive, Six and Seven now.