After a recent study from the charity, Prince’s Trust, has found that a third of long term unemployed young people have contemplated taking their own lives. Martina Milburn, the chief executive of the charity, stated that “Thousands wake up every day believing that life isn’t worth living, after struggling for years in the dole queue”. We must ask why these young people are feeling more and more depressed, and who has the responsibility to change this?
It can clearly be argued that perhaps these people need to be doing more for themselves. Having gone to a state school in which one child stated, “I will be on the dole when I am older” I know that realistically, some people do not care about the bigger picture as they expect help to be given. As these years go on following secondary school they realise more and more their position in society and grow to hate it. This feeling of despair then transpires into blaming the school that they went to or the teachers that they had. Rather than admitting fault in their own behaviour or attitude. Certainly there are elements of schooling that needs to be changed, such as teaching only for an exam or the private and public distinction but it cannot be expected that in this capitalist society we all have jobs and a similar lifestyle. For every richest person, there has to be a poorest. Whilst for some, this journey will be a lot easier if one had more affluent parents or better opportunities. But it does not mean that there is no escape in this cycle of poverty, or that one should not strive to achieve their best.
Having said that, it has to be remembered one cannot be entirely blamed for the choices made at the age of 14. Many of the parents of these children simply aren’t as well informed of the university process or the education process as they could be and therefore cannot give the same advice as those of a higher income. Regardless of certain changes in the education system, there will always be those who are simply luckier in having parents familiar with these things. One teacher at my school remarked, ‘how can we punish these children if they miss detention and then when we call their parents to tell them, they don’t care’. Clearly, more help needs to be given to these children, on a more one to one basis. Equally, there should be a clear outline of real statistics that show job employability without certain qualifications and the average wages. For example, one cannot blame the system if someone gets a job who has a 2:1 in their degree, compared to someone who doesn’t have any similar qualifications. To have these things stated clearly makes it known that if you do not want to finish school and continue with education of some form, then this is what can be expected. Whilst for those who are not destined for academia there are other routes such as foundation degrees or apprenticeships. But in this instance, I am referring to those who simply leave school without trying and then expect something to be given to them.
There are more struggles for those without parents as familiar with the processes and opportunities possible. The truly exceptional people are those that make the choice to strive to be away from this, which can be done. There are clear issues with schooling, but it cannot be entirely blamed on that or the present government, for the reasons why these young people are depressed. Yes, some have been hindered by society. But some also hinder themselves in their choices. Therefore, we should instead be arguing that what needs to be improved is the mentality of these young people. To look on how they can improve themselves, rather than what can be done for them.