David Cameron: careers adviser

6 Jun

Dave is here for all your career needs

Are you in your twenties? At uni? Approaching the end of your degree course? Already graduated but yet to find full-time work? If you answered to any two of the above, then, like me, you may be feeling apprehensive about the gaping void ahead.

But to those in my situation, sharing my concerns about our collective future – relax: the government has it all worked out.

If you weren’t calmed by Ed Miliband’s appearance on BBC Breakfast News on May 25, when he talked about tackling youth employment, don’t worry – his appearance unsettles everyone. If you feared that Ed’s proposal to solve youth unemployment with a banker’s tax was as plausible as Eric Pickles becoming the face of Weight Watchers, then let the coalition reassure you.

Think back to the heady post-election months when Prime Minister David ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron had a plan. And he called it ‘Big Society’. Those two little words may make your stomach lurch, but they were our man Dave’s solution to every problem Britain ever had.

Dave’s Big Plan

In Autumn 2010, Dave used the Big Society concept to suggest a great alternative to actual jobs – graduates could just work for free. Young people jobless after education could busy themselves with volunteering, work placements and internships. The latest addition to Cameron’s strategy was his £60million initiative to combat rising youth unemployment by creating work placements in private firms, launched on May 11 this year.

Brilliant. Employers get a free workforce of invaluable skilled graduates – a godsend, given that everyone’s feeling the pinch and that some services’ budgets are so squeezed they’re practically asphyxiated. University-leavers gain valuable experience to put on their CV and develop new skills. A win-win situation.

Which way to Cameron's careers advisory office?

Except that it isn’t. Here we are, an academic year later, and many of us – due to finish our course with no job lined up – have spotted a tiny flaw: you can’t live off your CV. A plumped up CV on its own can’t pay your bills or cover your rent or finance your commute. Solving unemployment by giving people unpaid work is like solving illiteracy by giving people picture books. It keeps us busily distracted without addressing the root of the problem

All in this together?

So what consolation is there for those of us graduating with uncertain work prospects and a mountain of debt? Well, I suggest that before we dismiss Dave as a careers adviser from hell, we utilise his Big Society plan more imaginatively. I propose that we nominate people to join in the working-for-free spirit advocated by the government.

For example, I would nominate Sir Fred Goodwin, former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland who walked away with a £500,000 annual pension and £3million lump sum, while the bank was bailed out by taxpayers. Recently revealed to have had an affair with a former colleague, I would put him forward for a work experience stint at a marriage counselling agency.

My second vote goes to Sir Philip Green, the retail mogul who allegedly avoided tax on a £1.2billion dividend last year. I would recommend him for an unpaid internship in Topshop.

Rupert prepares for his paper round

Next up, MP David Laws who claimed over £40,000 in accommodation expenses while actually renting his boyfriend’s flat for free. He should do a work placement at an estate agent.

Rupert Murdoch, who was reported to be responsible for tax evasion of millions of pounds in the late 1990s, should volunteer as a paperboy.

It might not solve the problem of youth unemployment, but it would certainly make me feel better, knowing that they were doing their part to prop up the Big Society.

After all, aren’t we all in this together?

By Luxmy Gopal


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