I am an intermittent blogger, posting here and there as the mood takes me, mindful neither of reader numbers, of timely intervals or of continuity. So, I lay no great claims to a regular, loyal and commited readership, and my chances of appearing on a WordPress Hall of Fame, remain remote. But that does not mean I am indifferent of the power of the blog to inspire, to be the catalyst that unites, that drives action, however that may be attained.
So, it is to WordPress that I turn to set in motion thoughts and ideas that are forming as I write, that remain nebulous as the clouds above, yet still drive me on to bring my thoughts alive.
Families – what is it that unites us, that is homogeneous, that we may see in family groups the world over, across boundaries of geography, race and culture?
In families we have that great diversity of employment experience – those family members who are employed and those for whom the world of work remains elusive, or at best, is fraught with difficulties, with low wages, uncertainty, poor prospects and limited opportunity.
Today, I have met with a young adult with learning difficulties, for whom employment at the age of 24 remains as problematic and elusive as it was after leaving college, with few qualifications and a deeply embedded fear of figures in authority , at the age of 18. What strikes me is how it can be possible, in many family contexts, to have one or more members of that family for whom the search for employment and with it, a degree of independence, is a constant and recurring source of distress, unease and frustration. The distress, unease and frustration spills over so that it takes on a life of its own, impacting not only on the individual concerned, but the family also.
This young man is one in a total of 1.02 million young people aged between 16 and 24 years out of work –
My young companion, describing the experiences he endures as he strives to complete his required job applications for Jobseekers Allowance, commented that he had seen the news and it said that over one million young people were unemployed. He accepts his fate with a complicated mix of resignation, anger, despair and at times, short-lived hope and anticipation that this time, this application may bring an end to this prolonged period of unemployment, may give some purpose to his days and to his existence.
So, what has inspired me to post today, on routes into that elusive world of work?
It is my view that there is an urgent need for employers to consider their social responsibilities, including to the locality of their business and to the families of those whom they employ.
I would like employers large and small, to offer a ‘family united’ day at work, where employees may take in one family member for whom employment remains elusive, to experience first hand, the benefits of employment.
I see huge social gains and benefits emerging from this one action.
- The opportunity for the employed to share something of their experiences with other family members
- To encourage paths into employment that may remain beyond the aspiration or expectations of those long term unemployed
- To develop and foster a sense of community in the workplace
- To develop and foster positive relations between fractured family members who have been torn apart by inequalities in employment, income and prospects
- To support businesses to realize their social responsibility
- To support families to consider the social and emotional needs of those within their own immediate family circle
- To re-motivate the long-term unemployed through awareness of the positive social and health benefits of employment
- To negate negative experiences of the search for employment and the resentments towards employers that many young people harbour
- To help raise awareness within small and large businesses of the direction and actions they must take to encourge more young people with LDD or with poor employment prospects, to apply for and take up positions in the workplace
- To raise awareness amongst business owners and large-scale employers of the needs of the young people who remain on the outskirts of society
Please comment and do give some thought to my plea – something more than at present must be done to make a difference to the lives of so many young people.