A group of 50 young people are walking from Jarrow to Westminster to highlight youth unemployment. They are arriving in Harrogate at 5pm on 6th October 2011, at the War Memorial (opposite Betty’s). A welcoming rally is being staged by Harrogate Action and the Harrogate Labour Party to welcome the Marchers.
It’s 75 years since the Jarrowmen took to the streets imploring Westminster to ‘Send Us Work’ The Guardian reported that in Harrogate, hundreds lined the streets and the Bishop of Ripon gave his blessing to men desperate to work their way out of poverty.
Like his predecessor, Dean Keith Jukes and the Diocese of Ripon are welcoming the Marchers as they pass through Ripon with lunch at the Cathedral For nearly 6 weeks, the marchers will be sleeping in church hall and living off kindness wherever they end up.
Youth unemployment is at it’s highest level since records began. Nearly 1 million 18 24 year olds are without work. In the past 4 months that figure has risen by 12%. In North Yorkshire, 30% of all claimants are under 25. Despite a reputation for affluence, unemployment in Harrogate is one of the highest in the region.
Paul Callanan of Youth Fight for Jobs says:
We’re told education is our escape route. But slashing EMA has put even college out of the reach of many of us. University, which will leave us with debts of £50 000 from next year has become a privilege that many can’t afford. Of last year’s university graduates. 10 000 are working for free on internships. If we want a future we’ve got to fight for it’ Without an internship, it is impossible to gain entry to higher paid professions
Parents in Harrogate will be acutely aware of the difficulties in funding Higher Education for their children. The majority of Harrogate school leavers go on to colleges and universities. Many have to leave the town to find work and the majority do not return. Graduates can no longer expect to earn a premium at the start of their career . Post graduates are taking entry level jobs to make ends meet. This is affecting the prospects of lower qualified staff who are competing with graduates for low paid employment.
Tim, a graduate in graphic design, who lives in Knaresborough is disappointed to find himself unemployed several years after completing his studies. At the age of 26 he has no job, no home of his own and high levels of student debt. He says ‘I was in a group of about 6 really close friends who met at St John Fisher. One lives and works in Birmingham, one had to go abroad to get some work. My other best friend is in London. One friend in the area has’nt got a job. My only other friend who lives and works in Harrogate left school at 16, did’nt do his GCSE’s and is now really high up in a timber firm doing really well for himself. He’s got a nice house and a car and all the benefits now.
The cost of degrees will inevitably force many families to reconsider the traditional destination of Harrogate school leavers.
It just seems that maybe a better idea instead of coming out with all this debt would’ve been to take an apprenticeship or whatever when I was 16. I wouldn’t have all this debt and I could have progressed.
MEET A MARCHER!
The 2011 March will reach Ripon at Midday on October 6th. After lunch at the Cathedral, the March will makes its way via Knaresborough to Harrogate arriving in Harrogate at The War Memorial for a welcoming rally at 5pm.
Bring smiles, banners and lets make lots of noise to welcome brave young people who are not prepared to be another lost generation.
Tickets to a Reception in Christchurch are available from Ann Czernik email email@example.com
The Reception is taking place at 8pm and is an informal gathering to discuss the issues around youth unemployment. Speakers include Paul Callanan, Ben Robinson, Harrogate Action, Harrogate Labour Party, UNITE representatives, and Diane McGuire from the University and College Lecturer Union. Space is limited but some tickets are still available. Email or telephone 01937 590527. There is no charge for the Reception although donations are appreciated.