Monday, 31 August 2009

WE'RE NOT JOBSWORTHY

I took a quiet break from blogging yesterday, so I hope you'll forgive me the luxury of rest. Although, quite exactly why I'm resting is beyond me – perhaps it's because I'm unemployed and have absolutely nothing better to do than wallow in my own filth.

Well, at least I'm not alone – it turns out those like myself who happen to be between the ages of 18 to 24 are the most unemployed age bracket in Kent (and approximately 1 million nationally, lest we forget). In fact, a recent BBC News article revealed that youth unemployment is a "rising concern" (no shit!) and that I have the grave misfortune to belong to "a lost generation of young people who can't get work", so it's quite clear that I, to put it bluntly, am well and truly buggered.

See, I've just graduated from De Montfort University with a BA in Media Studies. To top it off, I got a first, won a prize for writing the best dissertation in my year, and even had a little asterisk marked against my name in my graduation yearbook. Not only this, but I didn't just spend my time boozing like most students – oh no, I was Head of Music for Demon FM, our student radio station, did some work doing marketing and PR campaigns for a company called Campus Group, and I even learnt the sodding guitar.

Call me naïve, but I initially thought these accomplishments would make my triumphant return to Thanet all the more sweeter, boosting my employment prospects tenfold, but alas, it did not. Nobody will hire me. I've had lots of interviews (both locally and in London, in fact) but despite my past experience doing marketing and PR campaigns with Campus Group, employers much favour hiring somebody with just a little bit more experience than me. I very nearly got a job working for the Kent Messenger Group as a Media Sales Executive in Whitstable, but instead they chose to give it to an Invicta FM reject who'd obviously been given the boot due to their recent transformation into Heart.

I mean, what can you do? Most of the jobs simply don't exist, and the ones that do require the most obscure qualifications imaginable just to wipe some OAP's arse in a care home. You can't even work on a building site without having a certficicate proving that you can lift bricks without dropping them. And the remaining jobs don't pay well enough to cover the rent and bills so, in short, I've come out of university and straight into the dole queue.

Now, I'm sure some cynics will scoff at my acquisition of a Media Studies degree, denouncing it as a Mickey Mouse course or a 'soft option', probably even going so far as to agree with Chief Schools Insector Chris Woodhead's claim that it's “a one way ticket to the dole queue,” but I will defend the integrity of my course to the very end. In fact, I'm pretty sure one quick glance at my dissertation topic will doubtlessly cause most people to have brain aneurysms, so I'm certainly not ashamed of my degree.

Besides, I chose Media Studies because I want a job in the media: this can be as far-reaching as working in publishing, journalism, magazines, newspapers, radio, local TV, applied research, copywriting and, thanks to my extra-curricular work in marketing and PR, advertising. So it's not like I don't have any career options at my disposal, it's just the jobs aren't bloody there. Even the odious slimebag Peter Mandelson's talking about the government creating internships and work experience placements to increase youth employment prospects, but that seems little more than an afterthought. This matter should've been dealt with years ago before the shit hit the fan.

Speaking on Your Thanet News, Communities Secretary John Denham even delivered his PR spiel about creating jobs locally in the Kent area, but most of these plans emphasize training or apprenticeship schemes, and, as some of my old school friends will testify, most of these schemes are notorious for paying ridiculously low wages, so it's probably not gonna help much. I also discovered about Thanet Council's Thanet Works initiative, aimed at getting school leavers (but not university graduates) into training, education or work.

In fact, when you look closer and see which projects Thanet Council approves of as part of this Thanet Works initiative, one of them is called Thanet Doorstep Learning, done in partnership with Amicus Horizon, Orbit Housing, KAES and Thanet College. Now, I had an interview with Amicus Horizon about a month ago and they told me that although I gave a very good interview, they'd opted not to hire me in favour of somebody with more experience.

So it seems to me that even though Thanet Council claims to be helping younger people into employment as part of this Thanet Works initiative, it hasn't really done me much favours, has it? Especially if school leavers are given more priority over university graduates such as myself. I guess, in the eyes of Thanet Council, all young people are equal, but some happen to more equal (and perhaps a little bit younger) than others, wouldn't you say?

2 comments:

  1. Luke - would you mind letting us know your email address? It's just I know some people who have read this and would like to get in touch with advice etc. Cheers, ECR.

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  2. Or if you don't want to publish your email address perhaps you could email me and let me have it? I know you're on Twitter, but messaging back and forth on that can take days!

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