|Unemployment of the under 25s and the Churches||16th Nov 2011 | Download | Email to a Friend|
Unemployment of the under 25s and the Churches
Youth unemployment and the 1M threshold
WORKCARE, is a cross church charity which supports people in work and out of work. WORKCARE has been tracking this growing crisis, and earlier this year commissioned a study to see what churches can do to help. It was concerned at the growing crisis among the under 25s both school leavers and university graduates.
In particular it noted:
a) How graduates and those who did not obtain a university place were taking the jobs usually taken by younger school leavers.
b) There is a long term negative impact of a period of unemployment on a young person's future earning potential.
c) Key skills and habits are an important foundation for a successful working life. The longer this is delayed the harder it is to catch up later.
The research, funded by the Saltley Trust, looked at what initiatives churches locally and nationally could do to in response to this issue by investigating what schemes are already working elsewhere.
Recently WORKCARE reported back some of their findings to a consultation of local church leaders some of whom are now planning to start some new initiatives in the area.
WORKCARE believes that churches can contribute.
1. There are schemes which take young people and train and coach them for the world of work – church organisations such as SPEAR in London and Jericho in the West Midlands are good examples. There are places like the Arthur Rank Training Centre in Kenilworth, where young people obtain training in things like building trades and car maintenance and repair.
2. Churches have a variety of buildings in the community where people in similar situations can meet – job advice centres have been run in Church premises in North and South Warwickshire, for example. WORKCARE suggests that churches think about how they can use their buildings to provide places where young entrepreneurs could meet.
3. Churches have people resources. There are people in church congregations with skills and experience in many different sectors of the economy who could advise and mentor young people. Some business people are considering how they can help with this.
WORKCARE is planning more ways to report back to churches and assist them in setting up local initiatives.
Since the recession began churches have had to provide increased pastoral support linked to the rise in youth unemployment. For example:
4. Churches have an ongoing pastoral role supporting families where young people are staying at home longer, where family budgets are stretched and relationships can become strained.
5. There are church initiatives to help alleviate the impact of unemployment – especially financial issues. Churches got together and set up and donate to debt advice centres in Coventry, Rugby and Leamington. Recently Churches have set up a food bank in Coventry and every Sunday churches collect and send food to the food bank.
6. We have Chaplains working with our two Universities, FE colleges and some schools. For students in their final year, employment is a major worry and concern. We try and support them through this time. Nearby churches which specialise in work with students provide pastoral support and guidance.
7. Church based youth clubs are there to support young people particularly those in the 16 – 18 age group, and older young people who are members of their local church. Often the local church can provide young people with the opportunity to get valuable experience through volunteering.
There is widespread concern in the Churches about the impact of the recession in general and youth unemployment in particular on individuals and communities. Recently the Bishop of Coventry gathered over a hundred ministers to talk about the churches' role in transforming communities. This is an ongoing concern of the churches and we hope that we can work with other agencies to do all we can to contribute to alleviating the negative effects of this crisis.
Paul Simmonds WORKCARE 16 11 11