Date of release: Thursday, March 29, 2012

A2209-Youth-UnemploymentA new way of helping young people to find work is being put forward by the University of Greenwich Business School.

A team from the university’s International Business & Economics Department believes that young people need to be better motivated through positive feedback. In addition, they need help to see openings as opportunities instead of threats, especially when they seek work in a Jobcentre.

This was one of the main conclusions in a new approach developed from the Business School’s detailed survey last autumn of 80 University of Greenwich students, unemployed young people in Woolwich Jobcentre and youth club members at Downham, near Bromley.

When asked about desired changes in their life, 36 of those interviewed mentioned changes in job, their school or finances. Of these, 23 (63.8 per cent) were from the Jobcentre group.

When asked who could help them, 33 per cent of young people in the Jobcentre felt the government could – nearly twice as many as the university students and youth centre members.

The team concluded that different types of young, unemployed people had different traits, that reward was a stronger motivation than shaming them, and that economic and social factors could affect young people’s attitude and willingness to change.

The young people were also asked about the impacts of the London riots. Eighty per cent of those at the Jobcentre, and almost as many students, felt the riots had had a large impact on perceptions of local young people.

They were also asked about their chances in life, how capable and satisfied they felt, and about different factors influencing the personalities of young unemployed people. You can see the full results online at

Dr Riccardo De Vita, Senior Lecturer, presented the team’s findings to 35 students and job market practitioners at a Youth Worklessness workshop hosted by the Business School on 23 March.

He said professionals whose job it is to work with young people can build on their flexible attitude towards change, use their main life goals to motivate them and provide them with better information and communication about jobs.

In addition, young people can be shown where they fit into the labour market, be encouraged to take responsibility for their situation by using their personal and professional skills, and use familiarity with their own social environment to engage in new initiatives and networks.

Dr De Vita said: “As more and more young people are currently out of work, there is a real need to take a positive, fresh look at how we help them to find jobs. This is vital if we are to stem the tide of youth unemployment.”

The Business School approach was developed by Dr De Vita, Dr Gabriella Cagliesi and Dr Denise Hawkes.

It coincided with the latest nationally-published unemployment figures, showing that the number of young people out of work in the UK hit an all-time high of 1.042 million in the three months to January.

Other speakers at the workshop were Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, giving a political perspective; Ingrid Schoon, from the University of London Institute of Education; Ivana Pais, from the Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Italy; Jayne Deeley, Employment and Skills Policy and Programmes Manager, Greenwich Council; Emma Jarnell, Borough Partnership Manager, Woolwich Job Centre, and Jonathan Wadsworth, from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Queen Anne Court which houses the University of Greenwich’s Business School.