Rachael's Second Diary Entry – 23rd Feb

23 Feb

I hope you all enjoyed reading my first post, I was pleased when Pete Murray from Union News found my project and blog intriguing enough to ask me for an interview which I happily gave him. If you are interested follow this link.

I’ve told you a little bit about my background that lead me to approach Unite so now is the time to   fill you all in on my research process so far…

Since Unite had kindly agreed for me to delve into the issues surrounding youth unemployment I found myself thinking “where do I start!”…so the beginning seemed like a good plan. My title (of which I am proud as I have never been good at catchy titles) is ‘Uniting to Forge Community Links: Engaging with young people who are unemployed.’ That was the easy bit, “Where next?”, I found myself asking.

I have only been unemployed once in my entire (albeit short) working life.  I found myself having to leave a fashion retailer whom I will not name, as I felt the bitchiness and bullying was too much to bear.  Fortunately I obtained employment very quickly with another fashion retailer and that was the end of that!  (Maybe this is why most young people work in this sector; it was relatively easy for me to gain employment as I had no experience in doing anything else.)

There is not much I can glean from my own experience and I need to find a way to speak to young people who are experiencing unemployment.  As there are time and money constraints, I decided that the way forward for me was to first hold a focus group that addressed the key questions that Unite need answers too and also to compile a questionnaire to distribute to those aged 16-24 experiencing unemployment.  There are a plethora of questions of which I will not bore you … unless you ask me too, but to give you idea here’s a few:

‘Are you aware of Trade Unions and the support they offer in the workplace and also to those who are unemployed or retired?’

‘Where does your knowledge of trade unionism evolve from?’

‘Would you pay £2 a month for support if you were unemployed?’

I have also decided to ask ‘Does activism interest you? And Why?’.  I understand that not everyone feels the need to have a rally cry on issues that affect them but some do. I’ve always wondered what makes people be active in their choice of cause…what makes you feel the need to be an activist?

My focus group will be running this week so I’m hoping to get some interesting thoughts from my participants and perhaps some more questions that Unite and I have not thought of.  Do you have any? Again, please post below…

I will be compiling a questionnaire in the next week or so that will be made available to a number of individuals residing in Glasgow and East Ayrshire, aged 16-24 who are experiencing unemployment and hopefully then I will get a clearer idea of their experiences and what can be done to support them.  If you, or anyone you know who would be interested in taking part, send me an email.

Aside from this, I have been contacting a myriad of youth employment support organisations and am still waiting to hear back from a few. I never realised how difficult it would be to arrange to get a load of questionnaires filled out! I had grand plans for single-handedly gaining all this information from all these young people and giving Unite a fabulous piece of work with which they could expand on, and now I am realizing that I am just a little paint stroke in a bigger painting and many of these organisations may have more important things to do than helping an enthusiastic student with a research project!

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