Lost Generation Spotlight


Lost Generation

Revealing the challenges facing graduates, students and job seekers struggling to find work, and examining how the economic situation will affect their future.


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Wonder graduations at Queen's University in Belfast. The hard

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graft has paid off for the students, and they can now enjoy a great

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sense of pride and achievement. It is a day of celebration, with

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thoughts of what comes next. Especially in these harsh economic

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times. If you look at it rationally, the number of graduates coming out

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with a number of jobs, their realistic we are not enough, so you

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have to think of it like that and make sure you're the one who gets

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noticed. I am looking for jobs at the moment, but it is quite

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difficult. In the meantime, while I'm trying to find some kind of

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graduates job, I am working as a barman. It is so difficult that the

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minute. Does keep trying and hope for the best. It is quite hard to

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get a job overseer at the minute. I have been applying for quite a few.

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-- get a job over here at the minute. When I graduated from

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Queen's College back in the 1980s, I was fortunate to find a job quite

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quickly. I wonder how difficult it will be for today's students. Not

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least because my own son has just started on his university career.

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We all want our children to have better ways than her own, but for

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the next generation, they are real concerns that it will not happen.

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It is a tough time to look for a job, and the younger you are, the

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tougher it can be. With almost one in five young people unemployed, it

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can be a big problem. It has led to talk of the lost generation

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struggling to find their way. I have been following a group of

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young jobseeker's baffling to make a life for themselves.

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Emma Taylor has a first-class honours degree from the University

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of Ulster. He also has a student debt of �20,000. Seven months after

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leaving university, she has had nothing but part-time work. I am 24

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and still living at home with my parents. Still working part-time.

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And have no prospect of getting a full-time job we getting myself

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onto the career ladder. 22-year-old Adam Pettigrew thought

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training as a bricklayer would get in a trade for life. The collapse

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of the building industry catapulted him into a team once without work.

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Being unemployed, I thought, this is it. No more work, I will be

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unemployed for the rest of my days, living off for the state.

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Unemployed graduates Jamie Kidd is packing up and going to New Zealand

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after a three-and-a-half of scraping a living on temporary

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contracts, all of which have dried up. I thought, I cannot do any more

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of this. My work is so ad hoc that With 20,000 of our young people out

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of work, I wanted to find out how difficult it is for them to find a

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job. We brought her three jobseeker's together with a group

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of graduates, trainees and those without work to share their stories.

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Who is currently in a position to be actually actively looking for

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work at the moment? Bikila, you are a teacher? Recently

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qualified, in the summer. Every job that I have applied for has

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required at least one year's experience. That is excluding

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teaching practice. They do not even take you for interviews or anything

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like that. The situation is bleak in Northern Ireland with job

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prospects and competition. I am a key teacher, and it is competitive

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in its own right. There are a lot of P E teachers. I have only had

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one interviewer and this is my second year at it. It is very grim,

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and there are no jobs. How hard have you found finding the job he

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once defined? I ran out of money and had to come home. It was kind

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of like starting again. Emma Taylor started university in

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2008, the Year of the credit crunch, when the world went from boom to

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bust. In an effort to keep a student said law, see combined her

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studies with a part-time job. started here when I first started

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by decree. What I would find is that my part-time experience here

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would actually count more towards me getting a job and my actual

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degree would. The vast rhetorical arts students have at least one

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part time job. They are always following the American model of

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working their way through college. It is very disheartening for them

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to find out that their prospects are very limited. Nevertheless,

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enough old acoustic we would make her one of the lucky ones. I was

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initially quite confident that I would find a job, because I had

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such a great result. That has definitely decreased over time. I

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am struggling to find work, everyone is in the same boat.

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is stuck in the same part-time job in a DIY store that he had when in

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university. C M �6.60 per hour, and feels that despite having a degree,

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she has little prospect of beginning a career. It is really

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disappointing to me to find out that it is really not of any

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benefit to me to have a degree. None of the roles available require

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me to have a degree. For someone like Emma, it is as if her life has

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been put on hold. Unable to take the next step into adult life, she

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is stuck between education and work. I cannot imagine having a mortgage

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or anything like that. Because I have a student loan, it seems that

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other massive debt. Another financial burden to undertake.

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it is the features of Emma and her whole generation that are in danger

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of being mortgaged in the face of the economic downturn. -- the

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futures of Emma and her generation. There is not a huge amount of jobs

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that these people can find over the next two or three years. There is a

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real possibility that this can build up and build up, and people

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will stay forever out of the labour market. Every here you are out of

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work, it becomes more difficult to get back in. Five years out of work,

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becomes more difficult to get in if you are just one year out of work.

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If it is bad for graduates, it is worse for those young people who

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have not been to university, even those who thought the dead have the

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skills to make a living. An apprentice bricklayer from the age

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of 16, Adam Pettigrew thought he would always be able to find work.

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I was planning on being a sub- contractor, I wanted to be top of

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my game whatever I'm doing. I was not as planning on being a

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bricklayer for the rest of my life, I wanted to move up. When the

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recession hit and the property market suffered, 30,000 people lost

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their jobs in the construction sector here. Adam found himself not

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only without work, but without prospects. Depressing. It's just

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satyrs your confidence. He have no drive, it is hard, you feel. -- get

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there just shatters your confidence. Adam became one of Northern Ireland

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posmac 48,000 GAA. -- needs. Young people not in employment education

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or training. The good news for Adam is that the

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statistics no longer include him. He has started retraining as a chef.

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Are you were wanting to try this? Your expert opinion.

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We need Chantilly cream with lemon tart.

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You are determined to will finish this course and get a decent job?

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have my head focused on one goal. My career is more important than

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anything, I am just sticking at it and getting my career. I want to be

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a chef. Add the lemon juice to the cream. What do you parents make of

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this transformation? Proud as punch. My dad is at university, he is 47

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and he went to university. He was a taximan, but then all of the

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tradesmen went into taxi. If my dad can do it, so can I. A few look

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ahead, for five years down the line, what do you think you might be

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doing? What would you like to be doing? I would like to be working

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in a top misalliance a restaurant, and if not misalliance are then

:09:43.:09:53.
:09:53.:09:53.

fine dining. -- Michelin-starred. Immigration is the traditional

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response to unemployment on this island. At the height of the boom

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and the so-called Celtic Tiger down south, huge numbers of people were

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attracted home by good jobs, reversing the trend in previous

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generations. Today, many of the young people we have spoken to are

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expected to have to go of May to find work.

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In the two years since he left university, 25-year-old film

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studies graduate trainee Ket has been unable to find steady work.

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Tired of being hired and fired on a series of short term contracts, he

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has decided to emigrate. I wanted to get into the film industry, but

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a lot of people want to do it and there are not many jobs. I did not

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find it would be difficult to find a job anywhere else. Jimmy had

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hoped to find a job in London, but when he did not, he came back home.

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-- see me. Back to a graduate dole queue which has more than doubled

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in the past few years. When you are in uni, you're in this bubble. When

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you come out, you go kind of all crap. I need money. I need money

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for rent, I need money for food, stuff like that. You are on your

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own. With friends already living and working in New Zealand, Jamie

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is not prepared to be unemployed here. Despite trepidation, he has

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decided he would rather take his chances out there. It is scary.

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Leaving everything you know and the people you care about. It is

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daunting. It is exciting at the same time. It is a great experience

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and they cannot wait to do it. Then again, it is harder by trier to

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For mum Lorna, it is not just her son's leaving that is on her mind,

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but whether he will go the way of others in the family. My uncle went

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out when he was probably Jamie's age to join his uncle in Australia,

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and never came back. He has had four children out there, they have

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all have families, both my sisters went to London in their early

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twenties and have made lives there. My father's family are all in

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Canada, so I am the only one left. Lorna understand why Jane needs to

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go but is reluctant to see him leave. I would prefer that he

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stayed here and got married and had his family here and everything, but

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it is unfortunate. People have always left Ireland through the

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centuries, haven't they? I think he is excited, but he is also

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apprehensive. He needs to embrace it, I think. I would like to check

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in for Heathrow. My mum doesn't want me to leave. But she didn't

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want me to stop -- doesn't want to How do you feel? Quite sad. I

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suppose that I can't... Protecting anymore, not that I could protect

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him in the first place! But he will be fine. And I will miss him.

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There is evidence to suggest that more and more young people see

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their future outside Northern Ireland. What we would find in the

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grammar schools is whether they are Protestant or Catholic, over 70% of

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people want to leave it. Their plan is to leave Northern Ireland

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because they have assessed the situation here and feel that they

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run up the opportunities for them. I think it is very unfortunate for

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Northern Ireland, because we are losing 8th generation of people

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when we need them, we need their talent and their skills. We would

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want to utilise these people's skills in order to generate profits

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and economic growth, and we are not able to do that because there

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simply are not the jobs in those high in sectors in the same volume

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Training night at the local GAA ground. Just like Jamie, these

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Northern Ireland graduates are also facing up to leaving home. They

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have done it already. This is not counted down, it is Middlesex. --

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not County Down. Work hard, play hard. These young men had been

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hoping for jobs in the construction sector but by the time they

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graduated, the industry in Northern Ireland had collapsed, so they

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found themselves here, in London, looking for jobs. Tighten it up in

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the middle! The numbers in the club have risen tenfold because of what

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has happened at home. It is good news for you, but what does it say?

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Are it is awful sad. I'm here 24 years myself. We're finding that

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they are staying for a lot longer. There is nothing to go home to. And

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I'm afraid, when they come over now, they get settled in London, they

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enjoy it, they will not be coming back home for a while. It is

:15:32.:15:42.
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These players have managed to find professional jobs here, but when

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they were back home, it was different story. For while, I was

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picking apples in Armagh. Picking an entire crate of a portable

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around �8 an hour. Do you miss home? You miss your friends and

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family at home, definitely, some day we will probably all go back,

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but over here it was a great opportunity, we have all the boys

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here in the same boat, it is like a home away from home. I felt strong

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enough to leave home, leave my family, for me it was London, may

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be mainland Europe, but I think Australia and the USA are too far

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away. Are you optimistic things are going to get better? You have to be

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optimistic. It is not about earning money, it is about getting

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experience on the CV. It gives other people hope, as well.

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optimistic that things will get better back home? Hopefully they

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will. If we feel we can bring something back home, breaded back

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to where it should be, it is up to us, it should be our responsibility

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to make sure my sons and daughters have opportunities back home, where

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I want them to grow up. 24-year-old quantity surveying graduate Ronin

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jumped at the chance of professional work in London. I was

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labouring for five or six months for a bricklayers, bent the phone

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call came, I decided to jump on it, I took the flight. The job he got

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was as an assistant quantities a buyer at a company in the City of

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London, where I went to meet him. - - assistant quantity surveyor. Run

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and admits to being homesick and says it hadn't been for the work,

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he wouldn't have left Newry. But like generations before him, he

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thinks he might have a better teacher outside Northern Ireland.

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am just going to take it as it comes, even if I was offered a job

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back home tomorrow, I don't know if I would take it or not, because I

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am with a very good company at the mind, and I'm working on big

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projects. I don't know if I would get that experience back home.

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on the road to Newry to meet his parents. His father is having to

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come to terms with the fact that another son, Glyn, is also likely

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to end up working outside Northern Ireland. He went for an interview

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this morning in Northern Ireland. Fingers crossed, he will get that

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job. Would he be keen to join his older brother? I think so. I think

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most parents would like to have their children work at home, work

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in the area, and live around the area, but there is no work here, so

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they had better go up and get it dented around and do nothing.

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people are resigned to that fact? This is it. What about the rest of

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your children? You have five altogether. Have you talked to the

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younger ones about what they might do? I live in hope that every time

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you hear on the news, the economy is going to get better and there is

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going to be more jobs. What about student debt? Is it something you

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have given a lot of thought to that you are frustrated about? I am

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frustrated about that, speaking to others in London, I know they're

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not going to make money, they are just going to cover their costs,

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the cost of accommodation, it is just phenomenal. They are not going

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to be able to make any savings or pay off any of that student loan.

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Students here leave university with a debt, on average, of �15,000. The

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Universities Minister says that is why the executive has decided to

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freeze fees and �3,500 a year to continue their education. I think

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he executive sends a signal that we value our younger people, we value

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higher education, we want them to stay in Northern Ireland and build

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their careers there. Despite that reassurance from government, money

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remains a major issue for the younger people we spoke to. Many

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simply cannot imagine a future when they are financially independent.

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Can we talk a bit about money? Mikayla, how much of an issue is it

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what you have spent on your education become for you at the

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moment? Well, I am thousands of pounds in debt, at the minute, and

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I'm not making enough money to start paying it back. So God knows

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when that will happen, I will have to get a job first before I can

:20:28.:20:31.

start paying it back. I think I will just be in debt for the rest

:20:31.:20:37.

of my life. Can you put any kind of figure, the kind of debt you have

:20:37.:20:45.

amassed? Between 15,000 to �20,000 in debt. I am terrified that I

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don't have a job, so I can't really start worrying about those issues,

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as far as pensions and property ladders are concerned, that seems

:20:53.:20:57.

to me like a trip to the moon, that is a long way off for me yet. I

:20:57.:21:03.

have got pressing concerns. How do you feel about the whole financial

:21:03.:21:08.

question? I would still go back and do it all over again, I absolutely

:21:08.:21:14.

love my degree. I think it was �20,000 well spent. I just put it

:21:14.:21:18.

to the back of my mind and forget it until I am earning money, then I

:21:18.:21:24.

will think about it. With fewer jobs now available, graduates are

:21:24.:21:28.

increasingly taking the work that less qualified school leavers would

:21:28.:21:33.

have expected to get in the past. Indeed there is a knock-on effect,

:21:33.:21:37.

what we are seeing now is people who would have started in the

:21:37.:21:41.

supermarket or the bar, they feel very squeezed, because they simply

:21:41.:21:44.

cannot get employment. The people who would previously have got that

:21:44.:21:48.

job but now don't, maybe are now unemployed, so it has had a knock-

:21:48.:21:54.

on effect. Even longer term, those graduates start to tell brothers or

:21:54.:21:58.

sisters, all their children, their experience, and that can feed

:21:58.:22:01.

through into disillusionment with education probably don't think it

:22:01.:22:08.

is worth the investment. If you think of it from the employer's

:22:09.:22:12.

perspective, faced with a 50 children applying for a job, they

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will automatically gravitate towards the most qualified one, so

:22:17.:22:22.

it is difficult to see that employers could be encouraged to

:22:22.:22:27.

choose the lower skilled above the higher skilled. Emma, you have got

:22:27.:22:32.

your degree and you were saying you work part-time in a DIY store, so

:22:32.:22:36.

your degree is of no relevance as far as that is concerned. Do you

:22:36.:22:40.

think you're keeping someone else out of the job who would be

:22:40.:22:45.

perfectly capable of doing the job you are doing? Well, I had started

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at job before I took the degree, I have been there three years.

:22:52.:22:55.

Obviously, I might be keeping somebody from that job, but I need

:22:55.:23:01.

a job as well, as anybody else. there are concerned that time of

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the job people without degrees might have done, like working in a

:23:05.:23:08.

supermarket or doing bar work, isn't available because graduates

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who cannot find jobs in line with what they have studied are looking

:23:11.:23:19.

for that kind of employment? I used to work in a shop where... It was

:23:19.:23:25.

just work experience, everyone there had a degree. It was just a

:23:25.:23:31.

normal shop, grocery shop. Do you think it is more difficult now to

:23:31.:23:35.

do what you want to do than it would have been a few years ago?

:23:35.:23:41.

Definitely. I was 16, just left school, but got a job and a call

:23:41.:23:45.

centre by clicking my fingers. It was a phone interview. Now I cannot

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even get an interview. It is weird, what you're saying is you are being

:23:51.:23:54.

turned down for jobs because you don't have a degree, whereas I am

:23:54.:24:00.

because I do have a degree. At the reality is that a young person that

:24:01.:24:03.

the degree is around twice as likely to be unemployed as someone

:24:03.:24:10.

with a degree. As dramatic as the figures might be in terms of youth

:24:10.:24:13.

unemployment, the figures show that for graduates, there prospect of

:24:13.:24:17.

having a job and sustaining a job are higher than those who don't

:24:17.:24:22.

access Higher Education, so even though people are coming out with

:24:23.:24:25.

degrees, there really is strong evidence that suggests you are far

:24:25.:24:31.

better off considering going into higher education or equivalent.

:24:31.:24:35.

would be wrong to think there is no hope of the today's young people. I

:24:35.:24:40.

am on my way to catch up with Emma, who is in the process of moving to

:24:40.:24:50.
:24:50.:24:52.

set up a new online newspaper. Emma will run the paper's marketing and

:24:53.:24:56.

support herself with another part- time job. It happened really

:24:56.:25:00.

quickly, but I'm really excited about it, because we have been

:25:00.:25:04.

focused on trying to get appear so we could work on it, so it has been

:25:05.:25:09.

a really quick transition, but to do something I have wanted and we

:25:09.:25:15.

have been planning to wards. Perhaps ironically, one of the

:25:15.:25:20.

paper's most popular features is a section dedicated to Newry's lost

:25:20.:25:25.

generation. What of the people you have spoken to said about their

:25:25.:25:29.

experience? It is basically called Newry's lost generation, it is

:25:29.:25:34.

about each person who has left Newry, they're pretty much our age

:25:34.:25:42.

bracket, and they are all leaving, they are in Canada, Australia, even

:25:42.:25:47.

some have gone to Bangkok and different places. What are your

:25:47.:25:51.

hopes of what the newspaper could become? What is the potential?

:25:51.:25:57.

have worked it out that if we had a full advertising budget, everyone

:25:57.:26:01.

advertising with us, we could potentially make a decent salary,

:26:01.:26:05.

it wouldn't be grade, but it would be above the national minimum wage.

:26:05.:26:13.

Enough to live on. If this venture ultimately isn't a success, would

:26:13.:26:21.

you go? Yes. Whether it be Canada or Australia, will definitely not

:26:21.:26:26.

be staying. As for our other young jobseekers, Adam has four months

:26:26.:26:30.

left on his course, at the end of which he is hoping to get a job as

:26:30.:26:36.

a specialist pastry chef. And as for Jamie Kidd, who emigrated to

:26:36.:26:39.

New Zealand in search of a better start in life, we caught up with

:26:39.:26:49.
:26:49.:26:55.

him up with the help of modern Hello. How are you? I am good. You

:26:55.:26:59.

have had about a week. Are you optimistic he will find a job

:26:59.:27:09.
:27:09.:27:09.

What about missing your folks back home? We know your mum was pretty

:27:09.:27:18.

upset in particular. Do you think you have done the right been going

:27:18.:27:26.

to New Zealand? -- of the right thing? Had it all works out. All

:27:26.:27:36.
:27:36.:27:45.

We are entrepreneurs, innovators, and they are going away. The key

:27:45.:27:48.

difficulty for Northern Ireland is they cannot see any prospect of

:27:48.:27:52.

coming back, so we lose those skills, and we lose the

:27:52.:27:57.

intelligence they have gained. is a danger the executive is

:27:57.:28:04.

determined to avoid. Whether you go to Great Britain or the south, or

:28:04.:28:08.

anywhere, the message is, please come back and invest your feature

:28:08.:28:16.

in the Northern Ireland economy. But will there be a future?

:28:16.:28:21.

Ultimately, they will face a challenging environment, such is

:28:21.:28:26.

the nature of the competitively global world. In the face of all

:28:26.:28:29.

the progress we can see around us, it is extraordinary that we should

:28:29.:28:34.

be talking about a lost generation. But swirling about as are the

:28:34.:28:39.

First in a new series. Mark Carruthers uncovers the challenges facing recent graduates, students and young job seekers struggling to break into the world of work - and asks what impact the toughest economic situation in a generation will have on their futures.


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