England – College students keen to fight youth unemployment

Having recently launched the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign to say no to a future of mass youth unemployment, we are aiming for large support for the campaign. We want a big presence at the march for jobs on 2 April when the G20 meets. We want to show the government that youth are united in their demands for more jobs, better pay and free training and university education.

Kay Shipway

As well as recruiting individual young people to become involved and expand the campaign, we also want to have the campaign raised and publicised within trade unions and student unions. We want to get as many union members as possible backing the campaign’s demands.

As a further education college student, I raised the campaign in my student union student representatives’ meeting. I first asked my class rep if she would raise the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in the reps’ meeting. She said she would like me to go to the meeting and announce it myself.

The meeting was nearing the end, as the last items on the agenda were being covered and I thought that I would not get a chance to speak. So at the last minute I stood up and said: “I just need to announce something”, and then launched into speaking about the campaign.

I gave a brief background on the effect of the current economic crisis on the number of jobs. I emphasised that as we are all either young people ourselves or know young people, we cannot afford not to campaign for more jobs.

I went on to describe the situation where young people would be training with no jobs at the end. I emphasised the need for our strategic approach – combining the efforts of trade unions and young people. They got the message that without a united struggle, our future is on uncertain grounds.

A few questions came up from the reps such as: “where would more jobs come from?” I said that the leaflet I would give out describes how there is a shortage of nurses, social workers and teachers. The leaflet also details where public spending could be used to create jobs, if it were not given over to big businesses to reboot the economy of the capitalists.

I said we would need a discussion at the college to cover the questions properly, and this suggestion was received with enthusiasm. One teacher present at the meeting spoke up in support of the campaign’s proposals.

It was a challenge to get up and speak at a meeting of unfamiliar faces, not knowing the response I would get, but it was well worth it as I could sense the interest mounting as I exposed the facts which I had learned through my involvement in the campaign.

I would urge any young person to raise the issue at their student union meeting. You can see what we are campaigning for at www.youthfightforjobs.com and email us for more information to take to your SU meeting.

Furthermore, if you are a teacher or work with young people, please get in touch. We are aiming for as many people as possible to get involved so that we can build the campaign and mobilise for the march for jobs on Thursday 2 April, the day the G20 meets in London.

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