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.
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more