2011 has been a bad year for the UK’s younger generations. Unemployment has shot up, education and training budgets have been slashed and rising tuition fees make it seriously difficult for would be students from less affluent backgrounds to get to university.
Government figures show that close to one million of the country’s 2.5 million unemployed people are aged 16-24. With few signs of improvement in the jobs market many are wondering where to turn.
The lack of employment opportunities available is leading to an increasing number of people taking matters into their own hands and going self employed. Schemes have sprung up all over the country to assist enterprising individuals in getting their business up and running, and there are many big success stories.
Research carried out in conjunction with the AXA Ambition Awards shows that more than three quarters of teenagers say they would like to start their own business. Catherine Marchant, Director of Young Enterprise; a scheme encouraging young people to get involved with business, believes that anyone can do it: “Starting a business isn’t about how clever or rich you are, but about the practical skills and determination to do it.”
Adwoa Agyemange, who runs a young entrepreneurs program in north-west London, thinks that the employment market is undergoing permanent changes, and that for the next few years at least people who can offer their own services will be in the strongest position. “The only way to be secure is to have the knowledge and skills to create your own security. Entrepreneurism is the way to do this.”
Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Princes Trust urged the government to provide more support for ambitious young people and called on successful businessmen to act as community role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs: “They need support and encouragement. There is no quick fix, there needs to be greater recognition that young people are worth investing in, in return you will see lower health, prison and social care expenses.”
Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are willing to put in the hours, one in three businesses fails in its first three years and it takes a lot of hard work to get anywhere; as Andre Hackett, co-founder of successful company London Mobile Studios puts it: “The reality is late nights, working weekends and at times having no money, but I get up every morning and I’m happy; however well or badly I do is down to me.”.