i Editor's Letter: Youth joblessness is a 'social emergency'
Oliver Duff was appointed Editor of i in June 2013. He was previously Executive Editor at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, running the newsroom. Formerly a reporter, gossip columnist and news editor, he was fired as the magazine's bar critic after three weeks. A diver and surfer, he's interested in nature and science, politics and diplomacy.
Thursday 20 June 2013
I was working in a factory making refrigerated packaging when I got my first career break. A university friend phoned to say that a certain S. Kelner was giving a media talk. Did I want to come along?
One week (and 4,000 cardboard boxes) later, over a dubious pint in our student bar, Simon agreed to consider me for work experience. After two years, I was still there, happily making tea for reporters, watering the office rubber plant and earning enough to live in a 5ft-by-7ft boxroom in Shepherd’s Bush. A blessed start, no doubt.
I’m the oldest of three brothers – pity our mum – and as each of us began to look for employment the jobs market worsened. But we left the nest during an auspicious age.
As the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, tells i readers today, youth joblessness across the continent has become “a social emergency”. With nearly a quarter of Europe’s under-25s unemployed, EU countries’ social fabric is in jeopardy, he warns. And although heads of state will meet next week to discuss those school-leavers who slip ever further from that first pay cheque, they negotiate with little sense of urgency. “Come forward with national employment plans by the autumn,” Mr Barroso suggests.
A fine place to start would be offering much bigger tax breaks for companies which take on apprentices. We are launching our own scheme for 19- to 24-year-olds later this year, with government support. While the basic salary will help our successful trio as they learn on the job, more valuable is the opportunity – and hope.
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence