Joe Trodden: Young people need help to thrive

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We hear it all the time: young people today are being let down by the system.

Well, yes they are but not in the way you think: there ARE jobs out there and there are PLENTY of opportunities, if you know how and where to look.

Starting your own businesses is flavour of the month, if you listen to the government pundits. A cynic might say that this is because it massages the unemployment figures and costs less than unemployment benefits but I am not that cynic.

Excellent and varied programmes abound to help them at every stage. All this provision and opportunity exists, so why isn’t it working? One word: attitude. Young people are struggling with drive and determination. Culturally speaking, apathy and lack of accountability have become acceptable positions. And there is not a level playing field in the area of the basic “soft” skills they will need, primarily working well in teams and communicating effectively, ironic at a time when there are so many ways to communicate.

Probably most importantly, there is a fundamental lack of confidence, driven by a belief that their face will not fit. Sixteen-year-olds tell me time and again that they are “not good at anything” and lack the belief that they can achieve their dream.

We must move away from a society where the direction their life takes is utterly beyond their control, where the opportunities open to them come courtesy of a third party.

Of course we must protect and support those who are genuinely in need of help but not at the expense of those who are capable of achieving more. The only way to get this to work is for those who have gone before to encourage them to think about who they really are and what they have passion for. ICE Store does this. Over 70 per cent of our graduates find jobs. Over 80 per cent go on to pursue their passion. They have to work hard and reach standards and in return we listen and encourage their ambition.

• Joe Trodden is managing director of ICE Store