“Plight of young jobless”, Evening Standard Special report – response from ULU Vice President, Daniel Cooper

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The London newspaper, the Evening Standard, has this week (19th/20th September) started a “Special report”into the high level of joblessness amongst young people, and in particular recent graduates.

Today’s Evening Standard Front Page reads: Special report: A degree in architecture … but all I can get are menial jobs. This young Londoner (a young Londoner is pictured) spent three years getting an architecture degree — only to face a choice between menial work and joblessness. On the second day of our special report, we highlight the plight of graduates forced to clean lavatories for a living. Our investigation shows 73 young people are fighting for every graduate job. We reveal that the rate of graduate unemployment has almost doubled in the last five years, creating a climate of despair among students who are already leaving university tens of thousands of pounds in debt” .

I have put out the following press statement on behalf of students in London:

University of London (ULU) Vice President Daniel Cooper has responded to a special report in the Evening Standard on the youth unemployment crisis. He said:

“This report highlights the soul-destroying reality of mass unemployment for many young people across London. After working hard at school or university, young people are now facing the prospect of an unforeseeable period of unemployment. We must act quickly before this crisis causes even more permanent social damage.

Rather than being used for a social purpose, the skills, talents and creative potential of young people are being channelled into endless cycles of job applications for a diminishing number of vacancies, or into jobs with irregular hours, low pay and few employment rights. It should be noted that this is also an issue of race – with more than half of young black men now unemployed. In addition to this, young people are being forced to navigate a benefits system designed to place the burden of blame on job seekers themselves rather than the economic system and the politicians responsible for the situation.

The Mayor Boris Johnson’s response puts the emphasis on young peoples’ lack of skills, rather than the structural problems in the economy which the Conservative Party have done their utmost to exacerbate. This is not good enough. Students in London must unite together to demand an end to austerity and organise for a more fair, equal and sustainable society.”

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