By Daniel Hunter
The growing number of unemployed young people in Britain is a major problem but, unfortunately, its causes run deeper than any short-term cause, such as a recession, said Will Davies.
The root cause is that increasing automation is taking an increasing number of jobs from young people, he said.
Davies is managing director of aspect.co.uk and a pioneer in providing job training for young people.
Almost one million people aged 16 to 24, 20.9 percent, are unemployed across the U.K., one of the highest rates since record keeping began in 1992. Overall, 2.51 million U.K. residents are unemployed through June 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.
"Automation is displacing traditional jobs - whether or not we are coming out of economic crisis," Davies said.
"The Government must incentivise the private sector to develop new industries that have a need for manual labour.
"The government has run out of ideas on this. Yet we must, at all costs put young people to work.
"We can't just invent artificial schemes where young people are paid the minimum wage to watch paint dry or move sand from one corner to another."
Davies said the big problem is automation, which means many jobs simply no longer exist.
That's why Government must get creative in not only encouraging private jobs for young people but providing training for those jobs and motivating young people to take those jobs, he said.
Adding to the embarrassment and frustration is one area with the highest youth unemployment rate is Westminster, the very seat of Government itself.
"The ministers must see this problem on a daily basis. If they don't, they aren't paying attention. So that begs the question of why they are so slow to solve it?" Davies said.
He himself has created a Bootcamp series for unemployed young people on an industrial estate in Earlsfield in southwest London. It provides unemployed youth an opportunity at an apprenticeship leading to a job.
Davies' company, aspect.co.uk, was the first private business in the U.K. to start such a program. It aims not just to give young people jobs but a work ethic as well.
"The Olympic Legacy has not created a sporting nation of young athletes. Therefore, young people aren't obtaining that sort of discipline that translates so well to the working world," Davies said.
"Instead, young people's minds are being cluttered by the Internet and their attention spans shortened. Many of them simply are not equipped to take the jobs that do remain out there," he said.
Davies said his Bootcamp series, while a good one, can't solve the U.K. youth unemployment problem all by itself. Government must do more to help private businesses create jobs for young people, he said.
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