Rachael's Fourth Diary Entry- 1st May

1 May

I am back online!   It’s been a while since my last post, and I am now seeing the results of my efforts here’s what I’ve been up to…

I have spoken to more individuals aged 16-24, I decided that it would be beneficial to speak to members of Unite in this age category to see if their feelings and work experiences are similar to those not affiliated with a trade union. I was given the opportunity to speak to some members of the youth committee and found many similarities. There are clear frustrations felt within this group about the governments’ lack of support in assisting those under 24 years of age, with gaining employment that enables them to move up the career ladder. This has been the case, not just for this group but for everyone I have spoken to so far.  I feel that this is something that must be addressed, but how does our present government aim to rectify this if they continue to cut funding to schemes like The Future Jobs Fund without placing suitable alternatives in its place?

I also spoke to two other groups of young people who were being supported by organisations that aim to assist them with gaining transferable skills. It was pretty late into the project when I spoke to them, but the information they had given me was valuable and I felt a need to include it in my final report. It was highlighted by one group that minimum wage for those aged 16-21 is disproportionate and that trade unions have a role in explaining why this is. Upon further research I went onto the directgov website, and found that there is a £2.40 discrepancy between those aged 16-21, and no explanation as to why. To me, age does not equate to experience, thus there is no justification for a discrepancy in wages.

Everyone I have spoken to has felt hindered  by their job seeking efforts as employers in the service sector are driven towards recruiting those with extensive service sector experience, the young people were asking ‘why is this?’ Roles where no prior qualifications are necessary should have adequate and efficient training, which will enable any person to carry out that specific job role; Suitability for this kind of job should be decided after their probation period, not during the application process. This will give those without work experience a chance to get their foot of the career ladder.

What has become abundantly clear is that Unite have a role in informing those ages 16-24 of the support that is available to them, lack of knowledge is one reason that prevented the young people from utilizing this support as the majority of them had no knowledge of the role that Unite play in our society. It was evident however that the young members who are part of the youth committee spoke highly of the support they received, and felt that their involvement, particularly in the workplace made them feel empowered to address any work based grievances.

This week I will be tweaking my final report and will post it on here so you can all see the fruits of my labour. You will be able to view my documentary ‘Uniting to Forge Community Links’ above, let me know what you think! I will be posting some reflections on my research process next week, in case there are some readers who are undertaking their own research projects, you may want to see the areas that could present challenges.

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