TEENAGERS are often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the world of work. The following conversation will be all too familiar to youngsters and their parents across Bucks:
Employer: So what experience do you have?
Candidate: None, I only left education last week.
Employer: Well we’re looking for someone with previous industry experience.
Candidate: But how can I get experience if no one will trust me and give me a job?
It is a vicious circle which teens in Bucks are campaigning to end.
Plumber Adam Stephenson, 23, of Station Road, Chesham, describes himself as ‘lucky’ because he was able to get a job as an apprentice. However, he is after a career change and has been searching for jobs in the youth work industry, but has had no luck.
He said: “It’s so hard trying to find a job. People want experience and they’re not willing to give you a chance.
“It was really hard getting into plumbing. So many people applied but I was really lucky and they picked me. So many of my friends are still trying to find work as a plumber but no one will take them on.
“People running businesses need to give us a chance. I’ve been turned away so many times because I don’t have enough experience, but you need to start somewhere so please give us a chance and be more helpful by saying yes for once.”
Chesham Youth Council’s Tom Pirouet, 20, said: “It’s very difficult to find a job. I think employers need to take a chance on young people. Employers want experience but if you can’t work you have no experience and it keeps going round in a vicious circle.
“I know local authorities are aware of how difficult it is for young people. Young people feel that they’re on their own, but I’m trying to get the word across that they’re not.”
A number of organisations in the county are running schemes to help young people get on to the career ladder, including Community Impact Bucks’ Wheels to Work scheme.
This is a moped loan scheme for people normally aged between 16 and 19, but occasionally up to 25, who find it difficult to travel to far-flung places of work.
The organisation has 16 mopeds that are distributed around the whole of the county.
Eligible candidates, who must be referred by a relevant professional or organisation, pass a formal interview and provide a provisional driving licence, will receive a 50cc moped for a period of up to nine months in return for a monthly fee of £40, which covers tax, insurance, helmets and safety clothing, breakdown cover, road safety training and compulsory motorcycle basic training.
Community Impact Bucks’ Graham Ross said: “It’s hard for young people so if we can provide a little something for them that gives them an opportunity then that's good.”
Mr Pirouet said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea. A big problem, if you’ve managed to get a job, is lack of transport and the cost.”
In June, Buckinghamshire Business First launched a scheme to set up 100 apprenticeships in 100 days, and has already got some businesses to advertise positions.
Jane Mason, who runs the scheme, said: “We’re concerned locally about youth unemployment and we’re also trying to get the message across to employers that apprenticeships are a great way of employing young people and investing in their future workforce.”
Ms Mason said there are a grants available for businesses who sign up to the scheme.
Ms Mason urged businesses to recognise the potential in candidates instead of a lack of experience and advised young people looking for work to use their spare time by taking on voluntary roles and enrolling on courses to help develop themselves.
For budding entrepreneurs the Chesham Chamber of Trade and Commerce has set up a youth chamber, which people under 24 can join for free.
Chairman Dan Gregor said: “I think it’s really important that young people are supported by the community. We want to help young people get their feet on the ladder. We want them to be successful and all businesses are interested in having more businesses set up.”
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