While away on holiday last week in Italy, visiting young adults we’d met as part of Rotary’s Group Study Exchange in March 2010, I was struck by their concern for the economic climate the world finds itself in. They were concerned about their futures and ensuring they had jobs so they could enjoy life.

As our unemployment figures are released the rising tide of Youth Unemployment I believe is a concern to us all, young people need a vocation/job so they can continue to learn about living. Work provides a disciplined environment, where they can learn to socialise with others, work as a team, feel valued for what they make or deliver and provide a means of self support for their chosen life styles. A workless environment only spells trouble in the future, as all these necessary attributes for developing as a good citizen are not being learnt.

So has Rotary a part to play in helping with this worrying situation? I believe it has. One of my Rotary friends in the USA, found himself out of work at the beginning of the recession, he got his Rotary Club helping to produce a TV programme so unemployed people could sell themselves, their skills and give them confidence. Rotary already is involved in helping with school mock interviews and we run one or two competitions which help confidence building e.g. Youth Speaks. However, can we be more radical or innovative in our thinking to help get young people into work today?

One of our newest members was involved in a Dragon’s Den type of event to help encourage young people into business, could we learn from this and partner organisations like the Prince’s Trust, by providing mentors. How can we help young people think beyond the film star or football career path and consider what their talents and skills could offer a society which needs new vocational development to move forward.

How can Rotary help raise for instance the profile of Sciences, Environmental & Green Industries, Business Start up, the list is endless? Should we think more creatively about how Rotary engages with Further Education Colleges or Higher Education Institutes, what do we know for instance about the Modern Apprenticeship Programme? Do we promote young people to volunteer in projects which will help them gain skills and attributes for use in future employment?

I believe there is much more Rotary can do to help our younger generations, be ready for work, find work and ensure they fulfil their aspirations and opportunities for life. Could this be a project that our our new eClub tries to develop? Please share your thoughts and ideas.

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