Overcoming Youth Unemployment

Posted: Mon, 19 August 2013 by Cara

by Cara Pleym

Although there are signs that the economy is slowly but surely recovering, there are still far too many young people who are unemployed. School leavers, skilled workers and graduates alik are all finding it very difficult to find a job; they get stuck in a vicious cycle where they need more experience, but no one gives them the chance to gain that experience.

So how do we resolve this? Well, this is a huge problem which needs addressed from many different angles – but we think crowdfunding can be a big part of it.

First of all, young people are well suited to crowdfunding because they’re tech savvy, know how to work social media and have a large network of friends and family. Plus, they often have great ideas but don’t have the confidence to do anything about them on their own. Support from the crowd can surely help them build that confidence.

So crowdfunding may be more natural for young people, but how will it help them find a job? Well, running a crowdfunding campaign involves time management, communication planning and activities, developing pitching skills, public speaking and much more. Crowdfunding therefore can teach young people various essential skills they can put on their CV and they can use this experience to demonstrate their competence to employers.

Apart from skills development, there are also many benefits to becoming more active online and having a stronger visibility, as crowdfunding requires a high degree of online interaction. Not only will this be a plus in the eyes of employers, but crowdfunding might actually help connect people with potential jobs and opportunities. It’s also something different which will help young people stand out at a time when competition for jobs is fierce.

Let’s move away from traditional employment – crowdfunding can also highlight the potential for becoming self-employed and building new businesses. Pitching an idea online allows the crowd to respond, feedback and even pre-purchase products, which could be the beginning of a customer base.

This idea isn’t new - Anthony Gerrard founded ‘Bad Idea’, a business which helps young people aged 14-18 to realise their entrepreneurial potential, and as part of a competition asked the pilot group to run their own crowdfunding campaigns. Three of the twenty campaigns secured their funding, but the greatest benefits were gained from the process rather than the end result. It was amazing to see the fantastic ideas develop, and watch the young people grow in confidence – we were blown away by the standard of the final pitches!

While crowdfunding is not going to solve youth unemployment, it could certainly help move things in the right direction by allowing young people the opportunity to develop new skills, to pitch their ideas and even gain funding to take their projects forward.

(Image courtesy of savegoodness.com)