Youth recognition

by Yousif Farah

Youth is a critical period, it is where a generation is made or failed; it is the bridge linking childhood to adulthood and without the right support and guidance the transition can be wobbly and precarious. Ultimately, societies as a whole reap the benefits or bear the burden.

Therefore, it was only sensible of the United Nation to dedicate a day to raise awareness of youth, their achievements and their struggles also highlighting the vital role youth play in shaping our future while enriching the present through skill, talent or through simply being young and progressive.

This week, on 12 August, people from around the globe celebrated the 15th anniversary since the establishment of International Youth Day.

The day covered 15 areas which affect youth, including education, employment, environment, poverty and health.

Last year the day focused on youth and mental illness, as it stands 20% of youth around the world experience a mental health condition.

This year the focal point of discussion will be youth and unemployment. Ban Ki-moon Secretary General of the UN says in his Youth Day 2015 speech:

"I applaud the millions of young people who are protesting for rights and participation, addressing staggering levels of youth unemployment, raising their voices against injustice, and advocating global action for people and the planet.

Volunteerism is an ideal way to improve society – and it is open to virtually everyone. Youth can also join forces with the United Nations as we move from forging the new sustainable development goals to implementing them. That spirit of action is embodied in the theme of this International Day: Youth and Civic Engagement."

In the UK according to the House of Commons as of May 2015, 15.9 per cent of young people (aged 16-24) were unemployed, that is down 1.9% from the year before. 21 per cent of these young people are long-term unemployed for 12 months or over.

The research reveals a gradual increase in the number of young people securing employment post the economic turmoil. However, if contrasted to periods prior to the economic crisis the figures remain lower.

In this calculation the Commons relied on the definition set out by the International Labour Organisation which includes everyone actively seeking work whether on benefit or not.
According to the organisation, the world as a whole is facing a worsening youth employment crisis, with young people three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. It also warned of a “scarred” generation of young workers facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and uncertain work conditions in developing countries.

The ILO estimates the number of youth looking for work worldwide at 73 million.

The International Labour Organisation is based in Geneva and was founded in 1919 in the wake of the Labour crisis which was triggered by World War 1. It later became the first specialized agency in the UN, currently operational in 60 countries around the world.

At Poached Creative we have always been sympathetic towards young people and supportive of their causes, as well as encouraging young people to join our Big Issue Online Journalism Course, we’ve run numerous projects with young people, for instance our latest collaboration with our partners Mediorite to help Camden Council’s youth project board plan, film and produce a documentary. To read about more about our work with youth and youth campaigners visit our campaigns page

My journey so far...

Mat outside Poached Creative's office at Bootstrap, Dalston
By Mat Amp

My journey with Poached Creative started several months ago, as the result of a conversation with my case-worker at St Mungo’s.

I was living in supported housing and was looking at various ways to reconnect with the world, both socially and professionally, in recovery from substance abuse issues that had eventually left me homeless.

I was informed of a free journalism training course being run by Poached Creative, a social enterprise, who were working in partnership with The Pavement, the free pocket sized magazine for people who are homeless.  

At the time I was throwing myself at just about everything to see what stuck in a ‘try everthing commit to nothing’ approach to life and I have to admit that my initial reaction wasn’t that positive. To be honest I thought it would be a waste of time, especially as the weekly seminars meant an hour tube/train ride across London from Brixton to Hackney and back.

But I put my concerns aside and set off for the first session with absolutely no expectations. I say that but I must have held on to some because I was surprised by just about everything that followed.

The sessions were set around a large oval table which helped us all relax and open up, promoting the kind of positive and constructive atmosphere that was so important as a canvas for the highly informative lectures that followed. One seminar on storytelling and the practical session that came a week later, ‘writing your own story’, was an epiphany to me. It was during that session in Hackney library writing about my experiences living in a homeless hostel over the past few years that I rediscovered my deep love of writing, a desire that had deserted me during those few bleak years living at the margins of society.

The final session on interviewing techniques was outstanding, the icing on what had been a pretty tasty cake of an experience. I was going to miss it. 

Or was I? Well the simple answer to question was no. When Poached Creative held out its collective hand with the offer of volunteer work at their new offices at Bootstrap, I bit it off.