Not in Employment, Education or Training - describing the young, long-term unemployed. Some bloke from a Blairite think-tank, Demos was brought on to Radio 4's 'Today' to discuss the idea that Youth unemployment was growing, had been growing for some time and young people are finding it hard to get the first jobs.
"Entry level work has dried up for the last 10 years..."...he said, though he did not make the connection, the national minimum wage act was introduced in 1998, at a low level at first, where it had little immediate effect. However the populist ratchet - steady increases in the minimum wage (often clawed back by Gollum Brown in tax-rises) has slowly done what we savage right-wing nut-jobs said it would: make the unskilled totally uneconomic to employ.
NVQs have their place - when earned on the job they can demonstrate skills learned, but the statist idea that Government training schemes and a bit of paper can make someone attractive to an employer must be challenged for the idiocy it is. The only skill most unemployed lack is the regular habit of work, and this can ONLY be addressed by a job - a first job is going to be easy, boring, possibly unpleasant and probably low-paid. That's why they demonstrate willing. An NVQ from a government mandated training scheme suggests you aren't willing to take shitty work, and aren't very bright either.
The halting, stilted interview with a NEET reinforced an impression of a state "education" system which fails to prepare people for any form of work - her speech peppered with
"...like... um..."I thought she was a teenager. She was 24. Her NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) had not, as she thought, helped her into a career in journalism, but had instead signalled (clearly and accurately) that she was, as the unkind acronym suggested, 'Not Very Quick'.
The demos interviewee suggested removing employer contributions from NI for the under 25s. Of course that writes off those children of Blair who are 25 now, but have never worked and risks having young people sacked once they hit the line that suddenly makes them a bit more expensive to employ, but he is thinking along the right lines. But why not slash all taxes on the low-waged (I find it disgusting we take any tax at all off someone earning £10,000 a year), and scrap the policy which caused this human misery in the first place: The minimum wage. Let people get a job - as they gain skills their wage will go up, instead of throwing a generation on the permanent scrap-heap of unemployment.
That army of listless hoodies outside the local job-centre is not a result of the credit crunch - though some of it may be, most have been there for many years. It is mainly the result of policies introduced many years ago. The 25 year-olds, educated under Labour to expect well-paying jobs straight out of school, or conned into believing that a 2:1 in "media studies & Gardening" from Northampton university is in any way equivalent to a proper degree, now find the world of work to be not what they were promised. 50% of people getting degrees and demanding employers pay uneconomic wages does not change the economy. These kids' expectations were raised, then cruelly dashed.
Once again, the Labour party used legislation to try to make water flow uphill, and ended up destroying lives.