Although this week's UK unemployment figures were slightly less depressing than recently, we are on course for have one million unemployed young people very soon. This is bad news in all sorts of ways. Those young people will not be earning, won't be able start that lifetime's process of working out what they want to be (I'm still working on that myself), will get frustrated and potentially resentful.Neither will they be developing the skills and talents they would if they were in work - no matter how much volunteering they do.
Leadership development organisation Common Purpose, of which I'm a graduate and supporter, has decided to address this through Young Million, a series of leadership development courses for people aged 18-25. But they need our help to do so. Each course needs people with venues to host days, people with skills to share and take part in the course, and a bit of money too if you can spare that. The first courses will take place in London and Newcastle after time and space was donated there. I pitched in to help with the Newcastle one, but also hope we can get something going in Teesside.
Arts and cultural organisations can help in lots of ways: have you got a space you could help with? Can you spare a couple of hours? You don't have to be a Common Purpose graduate to help, but I know there are lots of them in the arts and cultural sector - it'd be great if we could make a strong contribution to this, given the importance of our sector to these young people's futures, and them to us. We often draw on the 'corporate social responsibility' of 'Business' to support the arts. Of course lots of arts work contributes to society, and many people are involved in mentoring and other schemes. But we can also add a lot to anyone, not just those 'into' the arts - and we have a responsibility to do so, or at least IMHO. Find your nearest centre here.
(The photograph above is of a March for Jobs in 1905, by the way. It serves as a reminder that unemployment is not a new tool in the owner's toolbox. )