How can young people get ahead?

Since the recession in 2007 we have continuously heard that young people in our society suffer the most from a lack of opportunity and I get it, the statistics alone for youth unemployment are hard to ignore but what if the amount of opportunity for them is still there it just lies in different places?

I keep asking myself whether our preoccupation with working for someone else is normal. When I think about countries like India, USA or Israel where the number of entrepreneurs per head of population far outweighs our own it starts to look like a cultural trend. But does this trend arise because these countries promote entrepreneurialism or is it because young people have lost faith in their corporations and have realised the only way forward is to go it alone?

Time after time I talk to managers in large businesses who just can’t get the right staff and small business owners who are so busy they can’t keep up with demand. There is also  a large community of consumers who are tired of being let down by large corporations who reduce the quality of services every year and increase the prices.

With this perfect storm brewing is teaching young people to write CV’s at school the best preparation for their future careers, could the time be better spent teaching them about writing business plans? And why as a society are we so happy to lend young people tens of thousands of pounds to do university degrees that don’t necessarily lead to jobs but we won’t lend them a fraction of that to start a business?

Perhaps we need to look at how established local businesses help support new start up’s. With a new entrepreneur it can’t be enough to just sell them tax, accountancy, planning services etc…, there’s got to be a certain degree of education that goes with it. This means that we have to be willing to invest in that relationship as it is unlikely that a young person starting out can afford to pay upfront for the time required.

If as a society we recognise that there isn’t less opportunity for our young people but that they need a different kind of support to harness it we will end up with far more competitive and energetic businesses, young people who love to interact with their local communities and a far stronger economy overall.

As accountants in Northampton we have experience helping a range of local start-ups If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered above please contact us.

Nishi Patel

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