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Stephen Archer is a speaker with great charisma. By using illustrations and personal experiences and not being afraid to share his own point of view of the current situation and who is to blame for it, he engages the whole audience, at the same time helping us all to understand the credit crunch a little better.

— Warwick Business School

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Student unemployment – a tragedy of waste

All that talent looking forward to a bright future thanks to years of hard work, knowledge acquisition, the development of enquiring minds and talent. This year in the UK,  300, 000 graduated. I estimate the current unemployment rate of these to be worryingly close to 50% three months after graduation. Of the graduates under 24 years old and therefore taking in graduates from the previous two years the rate is 17% for men and 11% for women. Bad enough. But 2010 and the cooling in public sector hiring means that the situation is far worse for the newest graduates.

We are in danger of seeing a generation of talent being wasted when it should be put to good use in the economy and society.

To get experience and stop the brain atrophy ,many are taking internships. These can be excellent but a vast number are really ‘covers’ for getting menial work done by capable people. It is tough enough that debt laden students have to take unpaid work but far too many internships don’t even pay travel or food costs. So this is the free market economy at work , but it is also immoral.

Students represent intelligent, modern educated talent that can make a big difference to organisational performance. Yet the HR departments seem to have lost sight of the power of clever youth with energy.

We need a wholesale opening up of (expensed) internships and career kick off programmes. Such programmes may offer low pay but as quasi apprenticeships they enable people to earn, learn and find career direction. We also need to see a more open minded approach to the ability of students even with their lack of experience

Organisations are letting everyone down by simply ignoring students as being too inexperienced to be worth hiring.

Let’s not let the talent drain away or leave the country.


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