By Boqian Wang
Young people often face difficulties and resistance in the transition from school to work. They are often relatively vulnerable and are directly affected by socio-economic instability. Since 2009, the sharp rise in unemployment among the young population in Europe has become a major social problem (Bojadjieva et al. 2022: 30S). The employability of young people is not only linked to the economic stability of society, but also to their mental health. Unemployment obviously leaves young people in a state of anxiety, as job and income are closely linked to their quality of life. So why is it relatively difficult for young people to make the transition from school to work?
To begin with, education plays a vital role in the transition for young people from school to work, however, the majority of young people do not leave the education system with sufficient competencies for work (COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, 2007: 3). At a time when the structure of the global economy and the level of technology are changing rapidly, the skills acquired by young people in the educational system are often insufficient to cope with these changes. This lack of competence makes the young population highly substitutable in the labour market. As a result, they may be at a relative disadvantage in the competition. This reveals the serious problem of inequality. Those young people with a relative lack of financial and material support seem to face fewer options,
In addition, A lack of social connections also limits young people’s employability. Social relations can be interpreted as the access to the communication or relation building with institutions or individuals, such as communication with prospective employers as well as social support sources. Just as what Dejaeghere et al. (2016: 475) suggest, social relations are able to support young people through the transition from school to work, especially for those in a relatively disadvantaged economic position. There is no denying that educational systems in Europe and around the world are strengthening this link between students and society, for example by means of open days or careers advice. However, this building of social relations is still lacking for young people who have just left the educational system.
Furthermore, the lack of information remains a significant concern. As seeking a job is not only about one’s ability of demonstrating and advertising oneself, but also about the ability of choosing. A major for young people seeking employment may not be the lack of available jobs, but rather being unsure about how to make choices between different job opportunities. Lack of experience and knowledge may lead young people to make choices that are less satisfactory to them. Young people need more contact with society, thus they should be provided with such opportunities.
In general, finding a job can be challenging for the young population and therefore more social awareness is required to enhance the situation. As an organisation committed to helping and protecting young people, FYA is aware of these difficulties and is keen to help young people.
Although the young population has different job orientations as well as skills, in the process of finding a job, interviews are considered as an essential opportunity for young people to present themselves to employers. Below are some tips for interviews:
Facing the crossroads of life, it is OK to feel a sense of uncertainty. At this stage, just plan your direction, choose your goals and understand what you really desire your future to look like.
Bojadjieva, Daniela Mamucevska ; Cvetanoska, Marijana ; Kozheski, Kristijan ; Mujčinović, Alen ; Gašparović, Slaven (2022) ‘The Impact of Education on Youth Employability: The Case of Selected Southeastern European Countries’, Youth & society, 54/2_suppl: 29S–51S.
COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (2007) Promoting young people’s full participation in education, employment and society [online] Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52007DC0498&qid=1552994334944&from=EN (Accessed 1 Feb 2023).
Dejaeghere, Joan ; Wiger, Nancy Pellowski ; Willemsen, Laura Wangsness (2016) ‘Broadening Educational Outcomes’, Comparative education review, 60/3: 457–479.