A Line in the Sand

Spending cuts. High unemployment. Increased poverty.

For some people the current situation is business as usual.

Take BME young people, for example. In 2001 they faced an unemployment rate (inBirmingham) of 17%, compared to 7% for White British groups. In 2011, the unemployment rate for White British groups rose slightly. For Black and Asian groups it rocketed to 24%.

What do young people themselves think of this? Over the past five months, brap engaged over 450 young people to find out how they feel about the education they received, the career support on offer, and how prepared they are to face the challenges of the future. The results were often startling.

For example, young people still in education tend to be optimistic about their prospects (59% of those in education said they were positive about the future); however, only 35% of those currently unemployed said they feel positive about the future. Optimism, it appears, fades fast. Given the youth unemployment rate in the city, this is something we need to resolve quickly.

How? Well, have a look at the full report for our complete set of recommendations (it will be circulated at an event on 21 May, ‘A Line in the Sand’, and is available on our website http://www.brap.org.uk after this date). In the meantime, here’s a quick suggestion. Too many young people are ignoring the opportunity to pursue vocational qualifications. This is for a number of reasons.  The first thing to note is that there is a significant number of young people from  lower socioeconomic backgrounds who could benefit from studying vocational courses in FE but who are actually contributing an income to look after parents, siblings, or children. However, for the vast majority of people the problem is actually that they don’t feel vocational qualifications are taken seriously – not only by employers but by schools too. Many of the people we interviewed thought schools were too academically-orientated and that there was therefore less support and opportunity provided to people who might benefit from a different approach. As such, many young people we spoke to would welcome an approach that mainstreamed vocational qualifications into pupils’ progression through the education system.

If you’re interested in attending ‘A line in the sand’, see our website, call Allan Kennard on 0121 456 7402, or email him here. If you can’t attend, then follow BeBirmingham’s live Twitter feed from the event @fairbrum and #fairbrum

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  1. Time to draw a line in the sand brap: New Research into Birmingham’s Youth | Fair Brum

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