COMMONS

Web forum: Employment opportunities for young people

As part of our inquiry on employment opportunities for young people, the Work and Pensions Committee would like to hear about your experiences in our web forum. This will help us understand the challenges faced and focus our inquiry on the key issues.

Get involved

If you're 16-24 and have personal experience of using careers guidance, Jobcentre Plus, or even just looking for a job, we want to hear from you.

The web forum closes on Friday 30 September 2016.

Answer one or more of the following questions below:

  • Do you feel that the careers advice and guidance (including access to work experience) that you have received in school/college/university has been adequate to prepare you for employment?  How could it be improved?
  • How could your experience of using Jobcentre Plus be improved? This might include the quality of advice that you were given via Jobcentre Plus, or how comfortable you felt accessing and using the services, for example.
  • The Government's 'National Living Wage' was introduced in April 2016, but is only available to workers over the age of 25. What effect do you feel this has had on your experiences of employment?

We also ask that you include your age and tell us if you're a) employed, b) unemployed and looking for work, or c) unemployed and not looking for work at the moment.

Comments will be used to inform the Committee’s thinking on this issue. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted.

This forum is now closed.

Image: PA

54 Responses to Post a comment on employment opportunities for young people

Anthony Johnson says:
September 30, 2016 at 12:12 PM
I feel that the loss of earnings for under 25s means that we are undervalued. We're basically being punished for the misfortune of being born into a system and a country which blames us for the corruption of the financial industry and Parliament's inability to regulate them.

I also think that the lower pay for under 25s not only punishes us personally but also the economy. If we are to see a large amount of spending and investment we need to create a market. That market can only be created by having a proper working and middle class able to spend money to drive our private sector. Paying under 25s differently disadvantages us so that we can't contribute to economy effectively. It also means that we are unlikely to have the disposable income to buy houses to invest in our futures.

Generation Rent isn't just applicable to our housing situation but every nature of our lives. Where once we would have our Education invested in, now we have to rent access to universities. Instead of being able to have access to the NHS to ensure that we are healthy and productive members of society we have our hospitals paid for by disastrous PFI deals.

If the Work and Pensions Committee want to support young people they should remember that equitable outcomes are dependent not upon treating everyone the same but providing the interventions necessary to allow us to be equal.
Jade Clarke says:
September 28, 2016 at 04:34 PM
· What effect do you feel not including 18-24 year olds in the national living wage has had on your experiences of employment?

I have supervised young people who study at college or university and work to support themselves, or add to their loans and grants whilst studying. Many of these people are from middle class backgrounds, who do not qualify for the full grants and their parents do not support them, either because they can't afford to or they refuse to for personal reasons. It is heartbreaking to see these young people struggle relentlessly to 'move up' in society, splitting themselves between working and studying and working the same job, to the same standard as someone older, yet being paid less. Thus making their situation even more volatile.

I have also witnessed bosses send home older people from a shift and keep on younger people in order to reduce labour costs. This discrimination generates hostility because it isn't about who is most capable at running a shift, it is about who costs less. Without this wage difference between employees, employers are likely to behave more fairly and stop preferring to employ young people, over older people, because they are cheaper.

I find it ludicrous that we justify paying younger people far less than the national living wage because they are younger, when the cost of living is exactly the same for them as for everyone else. An adult bus ticket starts from the age of 16! An adult wage starts at the age of 25!

· Do you feel that the careers advice and guidance you have received in school/college/university has been adequate to prepare you for employment? How could it be improved?

It needs to be far more honest about the system within which we function. There is little education regarding the injustice of the employment system. The tax brackets and subsidies which favour large companies and corporations. The difficulty of returning to study should you choose not to study at the standard age, simply because of the huge cost involved. Most people don't even get taught their rights at work. No one is taught about personal fulfillment and happiness, instead they are taught to seek large quantities of money in order to be successful. This is a carrot on a stick, as social mobility in England is virtually stagnant due to the disadvantage point that many people start from. Many schools are impoverished and simply cannot afford to provide people with the experiences they need to compete, including high quality teaching.

Schools need to prepare students with different learning requirements and ability differences for the harsh reality that workplaces do not care and do not cater. As an individual with dyslexia I have requested for some things in the workplace to be altered slightly in order to allow me to work to a higher standard and these requests has been ignored. For example, altering the brightness of a screen or changing the font. Should I change such things myself, they are changed back, despite no harm to others. There is very little that employers are willing to do, even when you take as much responsibility as possible for your difference.

· How could your experience of using Jobcentre Plus be improved?

Personally, I hardly use the service as I find it patronising. It is not designed to cater for people who are ambitious and want to create something different. It is a service only for those who see no alternative to the low wage, low skilled work system. There is a shortage of interesting, worthwhile work that can offer solutions to the societal problems we face, the work is predominantly food industry, care industry and finance industry based. The care industry provides such poor wages and conditions for workers, yet this is supposed to be acceptable. The job center encourages people to disregard their basic needs because having a job is better than not having one. There is no incentive to work in England.

I always find my work myself by sending my CV out to employers, but I'm also setting up a social enterprise. If I was to go into the job center for advice on my CV, it would end up being of lower quality than before I went into the job center as the job center seems to focus on people with few qualifications and experiences.There is a one size fits all approach to this kind of thing, making individuality a risky thing. It's good that the service is there for people to access, but when it comes to career progression, or advice on starting up a social enterprise or business for example, the help is not available, or is not useful.
Lucy Moorhouse says:
September 25, 2016 at 09:14 PM
19 & employed with 2 jobs

During my whole secondary school and sixth form experience I heard of no other option that going to university. I was pushed towards finding a university and a course I wanted to go on when I knew that going to university was not the right opportunity for me and I would have deeply regretted it if I had gone. Being the first year group at my sixth form when there was around a 50/50 split of people wanting and not wanting to go to university rather than the majority of the year group just going to university, I believe the sixth form did not have any idea of what else to offer us as I was simply told on several occasions 'just look and apply for a course at a university just it case'. But what happens if I had got to that 'just in case' and had not made any different arrangements myself after getting no support from people who clearly where not trained to deal with anything other than sending their students to university. So no I was not prepared for employment as my who school life I had been prepared for university which is not what I wanted to do.

As a worker of under 25 I feel discriminated against by the introduction of the 'living wage' and it only being mandatory to pay those over 25 this. This signifies to me that MPs believe that as I am under 25 I simply do not need to live. If it has being proven this is what people need to be paid to live, surely this should be provided to all workers. People leave home as early as 16 to live by themselves, which concerns me as they can be payed around half of what a 25 year old is. I am a 19 year old that has decided not to go to university, all the money I have is my own earnt from working since I was 15. I decided not to go to university as I wanted to learn my job in a workplace, I believe this has made me mature more quickly as I am wanting to buy my first home. Saving up for a deposit on a not living wage, as the government believes I do not need to live at this age apparently, is very difficult as you can imagine. I am also worried about the consequences of buying my own home at an age below the living wage as it is questionable if I will actually be able to live if I did take the plunge and buy a house.

I think the whole situation is ridiculous, if you are old enough to move out and have to pay for yourself, you are in need of proving for yourself. You are in need of being able to LIVE.
Khiry Pascal-joseph says:
September 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM
The Government's 'National Living Wage' was introduced in April 2016, but is only available to workers over the age of 25. What effect do you feel this has had on your experiences of employment? my name is khiry pascal-joseph I'm 24 years old and I'm currently employed I think that the government changes on the national living wage has had a affect on young people because at the time it was announced i thought it would across all ages but when i heard it was for over 25 it was quite shocked because many young people has different circumstances for them to work and it aint easy for them.
Samantha Kerr says:
September 22, 2016 at 09:19 AM
23 years old, female, employed. My experience of using Jobcentre Plus could be improved just by being treated like a human being. Every time I've attended a meeting I've felt degraded and patronised. Having had to move house, I needed to move jobcentres. In Norwich I was told not to look for any work that won't be paid, so work experience or voluntary. But surely if I want a job, I'm going to need experience! It's a vicious circle, feeling let down by services that are meant to help you into employment and they are doing the opposite by making you feel worthless and like you'll never get a job.
Michael tyler says:
September 22, 2016 at 09:01 AM
It's very hard for a young person to get a job because of experience. With the help off the job centre and princes trust that change ged for me. The job centre put me in contact with the princes trust about a course on the railway. I rang them up straight away and was given an interview. All I did was turn up and listen to what was getting told and from there I manged to bag myself a full time job working on the railway.
David Brooke says:
September 20, 2016 at 05:42 PM
I am 20 years old, currently employed on a 0 hour contract (by choice) as I am primarily an actor and this job serves to give me earnings in between acting jobs.

Do you feel that the careers advice and guidance (including access to work experience) that you have received in school/college/university has been adequate to prepare you for employment? How could it be improved?:

It was completely useless. I can't comment on academic career paths, but for creatives, there was next to nothing. In school I, at 15, ended up explaining to the careers officer about how the basics of the acting industry works after she suggested several programs that were completely inappropriate, told me that she probably wasn't the best person to ask. In college, the curriculum itself was detrimental. When doing drama A-Level, there is an exam whereby you have to perform a monologue. As someone who has now spent time working and training in the industry, I could list many things with this specific exam, and course as a whole, that are extremely negative for an actor in the real world to learn, but the one that sums it up is when I got feedback from my teacher after the mock exam. I was told that, although my performance was good, and despite the fact that she would "definitely hire me if this was an audition", that she had to give me a D due to the fact that my monologue didn't meet an enormous amount of criteria that meant the only way to actually achieve a high score was to basically do a dance to words - the opposite of the majority of jobs in the industry. Creative subjects are treated and marked the same as academic subjects, and although this doesn't specifically count as 'career advise', it does shape how students see their future career in terms of what skills are needed, and in the creative arts they are being mislead.

The Government's 'National Living Wage' was introduced in April 2016, but is only available to workers over the age of 25. What effect do you feel this has had on your experiences of employment?:

I'm very lucky that I'm in a job that pays me a good wage regardless of my age, but sadly this is not a requirement. It is incredibly insulting, and extremely ageist that a minimum wage should be based on age and not on the job they do. Is someone over 25 more valued than me? Not everyone under 25 lives at home, they need the money as much as anyone else. Although should it be based on need? No. It should be based on everyone being equal within the same job.
By the government's logic, people who receive a state pension should have a lower minimum wage because they already get an amount from the government. This is no more disgusting and ageist than the government's policy to treat people under 25 as lesser just due to their age. Do you think this helps a young person's confidence if they're already nervous about moving into the world of work?

Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss my views further.
Blair Dunn says:
September 20, 2016 at 02:31 AM
The Government's 'National Living Wage' was introduced in April 2016, but is only available to workers over the age of 25. What effect do you feel this has had on your experiences of employment?

This scheme makes me feel undervalued just because of my age. The National Living Wage should be the same for everyone, no matter what age they are. It makes employers look greedy and marginalises young people. I don't think more well off people would appreciate this approach if they were in our shoes. The only thing that changes in a person on their birthday is their age, not their ability to work. This could affect a young mother with X amount of children and who counts on that extra few pence an hour to feed her family as well as pay her bills, so she should do less and save more just because shes young?
I thought the general consensus in Britain was to maximise opportunities for our youth and make their futures as bright as possible to improve the overall aspects of our country.
So say a young person went to work to save for an education, those few pence could mean the difference between applying this year or having to work for another year to apply basically wasting a year all for the sake of a national rule that is pretty ridiculous.
AGE - 24
UNEMPLOYED AND LOOKING FOR WORK
Christian Webb says:
September 19, 2016 at 10:20 PM
It is horrendous that there is a discrepency between pay for over and under 25s. You don't suddenly become more productive at 25
Reece Shaw says:
September 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM
Although I have never worked for minimum wage it seems unfair and discriminatory that people should be paid less due to their age, for the same work as their older counterparts especially as the wage for over 24s is rising. This is why it's becoming more difficult for young people to gain independence until their mid to late 20's. A wage shouldn't be based on age but on how much value you offer to a company and if you offer the same amount as an older worker it seems unfair to be paid less.