Last Monday Night on the Frontline programme on RTE, the current unemployment crises facing new Irish Graduates was discussed at large. Much was made of the fact that we have recently qualified, or soon to be qualified, Engineers, Lawyers, Physio Therapists (and most likely Speech & Language and Occupational Therapists) etc by the dozens and no jobs for them. This country has invested a lot in their education and there is a need for their skills....in fact there's a dearth of Therapists needed to provide much needed interventions. Yet these highly qualified individuals have no hope of employment here and most will have to emigrate to find work.
Of course they laid the blame squarely on this ineffectual, but not completely incompetent, Government of ours. It's true, they've done NOTHING to secure or create jobs as they've concentrated solely on shoring up our Financial Institutions (already us Tax Payers are at a loss as Bank of Ireland shares fall) and reducing wages to the extent that people can't afford to spend....thereby losing more jobs in the retail sector. There's absolutely no stimulus package. Where are these young people emigrating too?? Apparently England, Canada, Australia and America in some cases.
How come they can get jobs in those countries?? Or is that a very naive question? Perhaps the forthcoming Olympics in the UK in 2012 is providing employment opportunities there? The big question of course is what are the UK and US Governments doing that our Government isn't??
However, the onus isn't completely on the Government, or on our Tanaiste and not completely incompetent Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan. We can't wait for them to get their act together and these things are cyclical. We need to use all available resources and they should listen to economists and business peoples' opinions.
These recent Graduates are mostly from a generation that has had everything handed to them, including a far better education than my generation and my parents generation received. Are they molly coddled?? Does their well-travelled status really mean simply that they're well-holidayed??
Bill Cullen, he who started his career as a 5-year-old street seller, was also on the Frontline programme and he put these very points to them. He challenged them to get out there and get experience, even if only on a voluntary basis, and said so what if you have to emigrate. Go get the experience abroad and bring it back here when you're done! Mary Coughlan is also relaxed about people emigrating and feels it's not a bad thing. Hmmm......
While Bill may have been a bit naive when handling the debt problems people have these days (he may have gone out to work at a young age to contribute to the family funds but his parents wouldn't have had the crippling mortgage repayments some of these people have) when he told one participant to renegotiate his €2000 a month debt. He did however have a point. Hey....I bet he's gone fishing in many a pond for the wishing money in his time!!
This programme and a previous conversation with The Cuz got me thinking. Can unemployment be an opportunity for re-invention? We both know someone who is using their forthcoming job loss as such an opportunity and I'm sure there are plenty others out there brave enough to give it a go.
These young people have fantastic opportunities to do the same in this internet driven era. They are way more internet savvy than most of us and with eBay , facebook and twitter there are loads of cheap (cost free even) ways to promote yourself.
A young entrepreneur Dylan Collins was also on the Frontline Programme. He's made a fortune from Games and now Gamestop has made a major investment in his internet games company, Jolt Online.
WiiBoy's ambition is to work in Gamestop!
See.... our children's obsessions, currently their re-enforcers, can ultimately become their future career path ;-)
Did you that there's such a thing as a Games Fleadh here in Ireland? It's a Games & Console Programming Festival held annually. I am taking a note of this for future reference ;-)
Of course, way before this economic crises, some of us stay-at-home-mums (and dads) have learnt the art of re-invention. Over the years, some parents have racked their brains to think of ways to successfully merge earning a wage with raising a family and still be there for school pick-ups, extra-curricular activities and homework etc; etc. A very daunting task indeed.
I suppose the trick is to think of your skills and perhaps how your hobbies/interests can be harnessed to fill a gap in the market??
We just have to look at how Hammie has used her writing skills and networking ability. Also, at how she's used her knowledge and experiences to help create the new Grace Application for iPhone to help non-verbal Autistic children communicate effectively. Steve Troughton-Smith was the iPhone developer on board for this fantastic project.
Also Coolkid is using her skills and interests and has co-founded a new venture : Picture This which is opening soon.
Whilst not making money for herself , the wonderful Taz put her thinking cap on and used her networking skills to help raise money for the Irish Guide Dogs: Assistance Dogs Programme . She set up Puppy Power and to date there are enough contributions to sponsor 5 puppies for a year.
I take my hat off to you ladies!
Of course some of my friends are an old hat at this using-your-interests lark, and are a long time in business. Like my show pal with his children's parties which he runs over at Really Grand Events!!
With my 5 year Career Break (plus one year Carers Leave) due to finish this November, I may have to do a bit of re-inventing myself too! That is, if I want to be available for WiiBoy after school (and I do) and want to avoid returning to my good Government job. Oh good God....the thoughts of it. Makes me ill to think about it!
I may get yet another hat out of my closet....... my thinking hat!
Not as fabulous as my other hats, I know, but this is a very scary task and I need all the help I can get!
Hopefully we can all learn to reinvent ourselves not just individually, but collectively as a nation.
What skills or resources are at our collective disposal to harness for use in the Global Market and here at home, I wonder??
And what's this Government going to do to help us achieve our re-incarnations??
Ray Darcy had some young unemployed people on his radio show this morning over at Today FM .
I only heard some of it but he had 2 Graduates; a girl who had 2 Degrees in Engineering (I think) and Biology and had been studying for 8 years, and an Architect. Neither can get a job in this country and at least one of them has "worked for free" as Bill Cullen suggests. Soul destroying to think that you've invested your time in studying for a career that there are now no longer prospects in. You would have to wonder at the choice of courses some people choose though. The Biology Graduate would most likely have to emigrate anyway.
There was also a Cabinet maker on who cannot now continue the Apprenticeship he's half way through.
In all these cases it seemed that they were following their dream and this was what they've always wanted to do. The idea of re-training is not what they want to consider. Can't blame them as they've just come out of a long study period.
Still, they may need to get re-inventing....or adapting slightly perhaps?
The Cabinet Maker had some good ideas. See, the Government needs to engage with these people and hear what they have to say as they may have some feasible ideas that THEY can adopt! The Cabinet Maker, when in employment, had invested in a shed and some tools. Now, if he'd any sense, he'd be down in that shed practising his learned skills to date ....maybe even getting a little business going ;) While he's waiting to get what he wants. Well, it look would good an a CV.
While we may worry about the Teenagers currently going through the Education system maybe we shouldn't. Quite possibly they're in the best place, potential future 3rd level fees aside that is.
Educating themselves for when this thing turns around.
Just pick the right courses.