Imagine nine people sitting in a room in front of you. Perhaps around a table. Now try to imagine ninety people. They might be filling a room at an event. They would be quite noisy. Can you imagine nine hundred people? That would be a full Globe Theatre, not including the players on the stage. Do you remember Michael Jackson’s memorial? There were nine thousand fans in that stadium. To reach ninety thousand people we have to imagine the enormous stadium at the close of the Beijing Olympics. A far cry from that small room of just nine people. Finally, let’s think of ten Olympic Stadiums, each packed full of young British people. Ten Olympic Stadiums.
That’s how many 18-24 year old Brits are currently unemployed.
One person who isn’t happy about this is Tanya de Grunwald, who I met this week. Her book, Dude Where’s My Career attempts to fill the gaping void where decent careers advice at university ought to be.
Career change is something which Katie Prescott is getting used to. Until last month, she was executive assistant to none other than TV Dragon (and supporter of Make Your Mark with a Tenner) Peter Jones. I’ve been enjoying reading her regular blog as she begins her new adventure as a broadcast journalism student at Cardiff University. Mark my words, reader, Katie Prescott is a name to listen out for in future.
Another Katie who is well worth listening to on the subject of careers is the brilliant Katie Ledger. She has titled her book (written with colleague Barry Hopson) with one of the questions which I dread at events; “And What Do You Do?”. It’s a practical guide to creating your own portfolio career and I’m flattered that Katie has quoted me a couple of times inside. Katie herself moves effortlessly from writing to facilitating and training, as well as looking after a young family. If you get the chance to cross paths, I’d highly recommend it.
Thinking back to my time and school and my rather limited time at university, I’m increasingly struck by the lack of decent advice that we were given. With almost a millon young people out of work, I see little to suggest that the quality of advice has risen over the past ten years. I hope that Tanya, and people like her can team up with organisations who have the trust of this enormous audience. As well as helping them into their first jobs, we need to help them get their head around how their careers might consist of many jobs, across several industries, and to help them prepare for this adventure. We need to introduce to them the idea that it’s possible to have more than one job at once and, for some, to be their own boss.
They need to know that, as enjoyable as they might be, there’s more to business than The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den.