It is a phrase each passing generation has chosen to use when describing younger generations and naturally pertains to the notion of young people wasting their health, vigour and vitality when it is at its peak.
Although it is rarely backed up with any data it remains a sensibility any generation can escape from feeling. As someone who turns 40 later this year, I cannot deny it has crossed my own mind a couple of times in the last couple of years.
However, the reality is young people are looking increasingly likely to have their youth wasted for them without so much as lifting a finger.
Readers of this Saturday’s edition of The Yorkshire Post will have come across the deeply concerning report we carried concerning youth unemployment. Working with the excellent Centre for Cities think tank, we showed that parts of our region are already showing terrifyingly high levels of young people being out of work, as high as one in 10 in places like Hull, Bradford and Doncaster. The figures are well ahead of the national average and, of course, come while the Government’s furlough scheme is still operational.
Within a few short weeks this will cease to exist and this figure will inevitably begin to increase further as firms fight for survival in the face of the considerable damage they have faced from the Covid-19 lockdown.
The prospects for university graduates are currently bleaker than seen for decades as graduate roles all but evaporate across many sectors.
Youth unemployment is higher in Yorkshire than the national average.
It would be easy to blame coronavirus for the bleak prospects for younger people but the rot was setting in long before many of us had even heard of the city of Wuhan, let alone the virus.
As few as two in every hundred school age children are said to be interested in a career in manufacturing, a crazily poor reflection of what future job supply demands are likely to bring us given the burgeoning demand to supply the green energy revolution.
Buying a house, a straightforward proposition when I entered the property market in my mid-20s, is now a protracted and arduous battle for those of a similar age, with a colossal deposit necessary to get a foot on the ladder.
Young people’s prospects look bleak in many parts of Yorkshire
Politics too has singularly failed to produce sufficient engagement too with younger generations, leading to historically low voter turn out levels and by extension, a total abandonment of policies and manifestos that put the needs of young people front and centre.
As someone who is blessed to have regular opportunities to speak to successful entrepreneurs, I am aware how passionate they are about bringing as many bright and ambitious young people into their firms as they know from first- hand experience how it is this cohort of society that drives a business to success.
The mantra of creating a world in a better place than you had as a child is in danger of being abandoned currently.
We cannot sacrifice young people’s prospects to maintain the status quo, which let’s face it was not working anyway.
Hull was cited as a badly impacted area.
The economic rebuild must focus on our younger generations like never before and give them the tools to take our country on to new levels of expectation and prosperity.
To do so would fail all generations and consign us to a second class region in a second class nation and shame us all.
As many as one in 10 young people are out of work in parts of Yorkshire.
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