By the latest count, 3.7m young people are unemployed within the Eurozone. Up 420,000 on last year. goo.gl/sr4mZ
— Million Jobs (@MillionJobs_) January 8, 2013
Lottie Dexter is the founder of the MillionJobs campaign, mainly promoted through Twitter. The campaign aims to support the many young people in the UK struggling with unemployment and hopes to get more people talking about the issue.
MillionJobs is campaigning for change from the UK government seeking better support for businesses thus enabling them to employ more young people and graduates.
Many bright people graduate every year with excellent degrees who have the potential to be extremely beneficial to multiple UK businesses. However, vast majorities are deemed ‘overqualified’ for the positions they apply for and this is, in part, down to a shortage of jobs.
Oliver: Can you tell me a bit of background information about yourself?
Lottie: My name is Lottie, I am 23 and have up until now been working as Communications Manager at the Centre for Social Justice which is an independent think-tank established by Iain Duncan Smith MP in 2004.
Throughout my time at the centre for social justice I met a lot of young people who had been struggling to find and secure work which inspired me to start the MillionJobs campaign.
Oliver: Where did the idea for the tour come from?
Lottie: I wanted to get out and meet people; the young unemployed, youth workers and employers. These are the guys who know more about the problems than anybody else, and are the best people to suggest solutions.
It was an incredible experience and I was so grateful that so many people took time to talk me about their own experiences. I learnt a lot.
In my tour I went from London – Sheffield, Sheffield – Newcastle and lots of other places in-between. I met local councillors, local housing associations, students and graduates – all sorts of people with very different stories (some of which can be found on the MillionJobs blog.)
Oliver: Now that your tour has finished what are your plans for your MillionJobs campaign?
The tour was really for research purposes to make sure that I had a good understanding of what is going on. Now the campaign begins!
I am organising a series of events, polling and writing articles in the New Year. I hope these will give a voice to all the people I have met along the way.
On Valentine’s Day we have a speed dating event in the City which I am really looking forward too. There will be a number of top employers present and they will stage mock interviews with young unemployed people. It will be a great opportunity for everyone!
Oliver: Where do you see the campaign in a years time? Or three years time?
Lottie: I want to have everyone talking about youth unemployment, and doing what they can to help make a difference.
Yes, things have gotten worse in the recession and the economic downturn fuelled youth unemployment, but it runs deeper than this.
In Britain, youth unemployment was rising before the recession – when the job market was booming. This is because our young people don’t have the right skills and because many were getting caught up in the benefits trap.
Ideally everyone should be made aware of the issue and doing what they can to help. We should have politicians implementing the best policies, communities encouraging mentoring and jobs clubs, employers making a real effort to engage with educators and young people taking responsibility for their own life outcomes.
Oliver: On your MillionJobs blog you mentioned that an increasing number of graduates are struggling to find employment in the first year after leaving university. How do you feel about these and similar figures from your research?
Lottie: I have lots of friends who have had really good educations, have great families and achieved good degrees and yet some have been unemployed for six months or more, some for as long as two years!
It is soul destroying!
Graduates are incredibly able and to see so many unable to attain employment after getting their degrees feels like such a waste of a potent natural resources. We should be making the most of these very bright people while providing the base for them to reinvest their education back into our economy, into businesses and into the public and private sectors.
I really feel that employers should be engaging more with graduates and job-seekers to be able to provide the jobs that they need and to take advantage of these people. And the government has to make it easier for small businesses to employ them!
Good luck with the campaign Lottie, we are fully behind you and support everything you are doing with MillionJobs.
If you would like to get involved with Lottie’s campaign you can read more on her blog: http://www.millionjobs.org.uk.
Follow the campaign on Twitter: