Rising Youth Unemployment: Calling for a British Spring

There has been much debate, discussion and research about immigration in the UK and its impact on British people who in turn struggle to find work since most of the available jobs are taken up by immigrants. A recent report by MigrationWatch UK suggests a link between the increasing migrants from the A8 Eastern European nations and rising youth unemployment amongst British youth. Whilst the report offers significant statistics and hypothesis, it must be noted that for a research to be completely reliable for policy making, the independent nature of the research institution must be questioned. MigrationWatch UK are a pressure group who ask the government to control migration into the UK. This has already been pointed by the Institute for Public Policy Research, by calling their findings ‘flawed’.

On another note, the fact that there is ever increasing unemployment among British youth cannot be ignored. A generation of young people, who can potentially go on to remove Britain’s reliance upon foreign skilled labour fail to find jobs in their own country and I can empathise with the anger, frustration and disappointment of the young people affected. However, an important finding I would like to highlight from MigrationWatch UK’s report is that it suggests Eastern European youth to be very attractive to employers because of their ‘strong’ work ethic, educational background and  readiness to work at lower wages than their British counterparts.

What is clear is that not only Britain but the Eurozone as well is in an economic turmoil and if we draw the reality of the situation, there is indeed a clear road ahead for the unemployed youth. Changing the times in a country is no big task especially when it comes to young people – there is an energy and passion that needs to be tapped into and utilised. However, changing the times is also not a small task. If British youth really need to get on to work, change the nation’s reliance on foreign skilled labour, then they have clear direction to the road ahead. The business market needs people with sound educational and business skills, dedicated employees, and people who can work at competitive wages. The most important question is: Are we, the British youth ready to deliver this?

Years have passed, many research reports released, blaming immigrants from different parts of the world but most important of all, the reality is, we have seen that as a competitive economy we need more out of our people. The businesses feel it is not being delivered, drawing them to foreign workers with higher skills. However, because ‘We The People’, i.e. ordinary people are much more powerful; British youth have a choice to take up the challenge of grabbing British jobs by passion, high educational skills, readiness to work and readiness to change their own future. They might need to work for less money to be competitive, but if British youth take up this task, we would certainly not be far away from a ‘British Spring’.

On the same note, I must also insist that although it is natural for a nation to follow nationalistic sentiment to guarantee its people jobs, better services and improved standards of living, we must respect people of different nationalities, and especially whom we often hear being termed as ‘immigrants’. There is an equally powerful humanity flowing between all of us irrespective of which countries people have come from to the UK.

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Sumeet Grover

Sumeet Grover is the founder of Global Poetry, dedicated to creativity, human dignity, dialogue and global citizenship. He is a winner of the Portico Brotherton Open Poetry Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize in 2014 & 2015. He has authored three books of poetry: Signals (2017), House Arrest & Disobedience (2015) and Change (2011). Grover is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

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