As young people, we go through a lot and it seems that numerous issues that are working against us. They affect us at different stages of our lives, but they have an effect on us nonetheless.
I want to outline five issues that I think are affecting young people in a major way, which I intend to have a greater focus on in future posts.
1. Employment- The struggle to find paid employment is one of the biggest problems that young people are facing in society. We spend all those years learning in school, college or sixth form, and then we are encouraged to attend university in a bid to increase our employability, but instead end up in thousands of pounds worth of debt with no job to show for it.
There does not seem to be enough available positions for young people and so many jobs that you apply for want you to have experience that you cannot expect to receive if nobody gives you a chance. It also feels like we are being forced to abandon our dreams and take up any job that comes along to earn some money.
We need to find a way to increase the number of young people in paid employment, and I don’t mean through self-employment, because there are numerous young people doing this already. We also need to highlight the organisations that can aid young people when finding jobs.
2. Knife Crime- Knife crime is a recurring issue, but it seems to have come back with a vengeance over the past few months and it feels like you are hearing about another stabbing every week. It was crazy to hear about the six Croydon stabbings that place over just ten days in January.
There are numerous questions surrounding knife crime, but we are struggling to find the answers. Why are so many stabbings taking place and how can we prevent them from occurring? Where did this surge in knife crime stem from? Is it mainly because of issues with safety? Why do young people seem to have such a lack of respect for human life?
We need to be searching for the answers to these questions and finding a way to address the issue, before it spins completely out of control.
3. Self Harm- Yesterday I read about how self-harm among teenagers is on the increase and that worries me. More time needs to be spent focusing on the emotional health and wellbeing of young people, as it is an element of our lives that is regularly neglected. We spend years focusing on work, money, education and success, rather than focusing on ourselves and the people around us.
I have personally noticed that self-harm is a rising issue and I try to support any young person who is doing it or who has done it, because I know how dangerous it can be. Self-harm always stems from somewhere, so I try to get to the root of the issue and give them advice on other ways to take out their stress, anger, hurt or anguish.
Getting out of the self-harm cycle can be difficult, because it becomes addictive and is something that you will struggle with for the rest of your life. Nevertheless, you can move past it with the right help and support.
4. Education- Education is important for helping young people to learn and move forward in life, yet the education system is flawed in so many ways. Yes, we learn science, maths and english skills that provide us with knowledge we can take forward in our everyday life, but we also learn countless skills that the majority of us will never use again.
There needs to be more time spent teaching children life skills that they can use out in the world. More emphasis needs to be put on common sense, because the lack of it in so many young people becomes clear once they leave education. And most of all, more light needs to be shone on caring about others and respecting our peers, as well as our teachers.
Education is not just about reading books and taking tests, but it is about embarking on a journey with various groups of people where you will learn invaluable life lessons. A bad grade or no degree does not mean the end of the world.
5. Community Opportunities- Young people are continuously complaining about there not being enough for them to do, which I agree with to a certain extent, especially after government cuts that resulted in the closing down of youth clubs and other youth related activities. Whenever there are government cuts, anything relating to the youth seems to be the first to go.
There needs to be more events, activities and workshops for young people that are available for free or at reasonable price, because it is a lack of funding that means some them struggle with finding something to do.
Doing something constructive with their time keeps the minds of young people busy and prevents them from getting into trouble. I believe that an increase in community activity and engagement would be a major solution to some of the issues that young people are embroiled in.
These are just five of the issues that young people are facing on a day-to-day basis, but I know that there are more. Do you agree with the issues I have highlighted today and do you have any initial solutions? What other issues do you think young people are struggling with?