Column: Visors? Let’s Tackle Young Jobless First

September 25, 2015

[Opinion column written by Jeremy Deacon]

I touched on the issue of youth unemployment in Bermuda a few weeks ago in an article called ‘What would the 23 percent think?’ but I want to revisit it in the light of another debate that is on-going now.

Predictably the recent spate of crime has prompted some knee-jerk reactions, notably the rekindling of the long-running debate over tinted visors and whether they should be banned to help prevent violent crimes.

Yet while we expend time and effort on that debate, we ignore other issues that contribute greatly to crime. One of those issues is the level of youth unemployment.

According to the last available Government statistics, youth unemployment is running at a staggering 23 percent: that is, almost one out of every four young people have no job.

To put it in perspective, in the same report, overall unemployment in Bermuda was measured at seven percent and youth unemployment in the Eurozone is 20.4 percent Unemployment_statistics.

A report from Bridging Europe, an Athens-based, European think-tank, says: “Early unemployment has a negative effect not only on the future employability of young people but also on their self-esteem, their role in the society and can represent a serious economic burden on state finances.”

It adds: “Unemployment among young people could also leads to reduced level of happiness and mental health problems. Being employed is important for young people in order to feel accepted in the society, thus not having a job can cause economic, cultural and social isolation.

“Social exclusion, stress and employment worries can cause mental health problems, such as depression. Moreover, studies have found that youth unemployment is associated with increase in drug and alcohol use as well as higher levels of crime among young people.” [The italics are mine].

And a US report Youth unemployment: concludes: “The results produced show that policies causing youth unemployment [even unintentionally] lead to tougher roads for those youths that are most vulnerable.

“Those experiencing unemployment at an early age have years of lower earnings and an increased likelihood of unemployment ahead of them.

“Policies that may cause job loss can inadvertently lead to decreased wages, increased chances of unemployment and longer future unemployment spells for the most vulnerable.”

Note the last two words: the most vulnerable. It is the most vulnerable that are most open to persuasion and we know that often gangs are seen as family to members.

Despite all this, the current debate around crime centres on the use of tinted visors, which I find staggering at best, and a wanton lack of social responsibility and awareness at worst. The police see it as a non-issue – something that may make the public feel safer but which won’t actually make them safer.

It is to be welcomed that youth unemployment has fallen to its current rate from 29 percent [one on three] and it is to be hoped that the trend continues.

If it is to do so, it must form the focus of Government policies – from creating a social safety net to specific job-creating initiatives to policing strategies that understand and cater for the intense psychological issues that can manifest themselves to better education.

The young people of today are tomorrow’s adults and parents. Youth unemployment cannot be brushed to one side in the hope it will solve itself. As Michael Weeks said in his recent column on tinted visors: ‘let’s tackle this post haste’.

What do you think? Leave a comment or email jdeacon@northrock.bm

- Jeremy Deacon is a 30-year veteran of the media industry and currently runs public relations company Deep Blue Communications, www.deepbluecommunications.bm. He also freelances for publications in Bermuda and overseas, and is also the Executive Officer of the Media Council of Bermuda.

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Comments (18)

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  1. UmJustSaying says:

    As long as we keep building on the failed systems which we live under the fuse gets shorter. The (PBP) party PROFITS BEFORE PEOPLE, are responsible. What the market will bare means-charge the highest price. Technology means-do more with
    less for less. Save for a rainy day so that by the next recession you have a nickel to spend. Tinted rules and laws
    are going to haunt the people that made them.

  2. Ty says:

    Good afternoon to you Jeremy,

    As much as I agree with you on tackling youth un-employment, I have a question to ask.

    “According to the last available Government statistics, youth unemployment is running at a staggering 23 percent: that is, almost one out of every four young people have no job.”

    How many of the above 23 per cent do not even have a “High School” diploma? Our education system is failing our children and most of these young adults don’t even realize the impact that having JUST a high school diploma could assist them going forward.

    Sadly – you need a diploma just to scrape up dog crap off the streets. I too would not hire anyone who could not take the time to finish high school. A lot of these persons are dropping out on their own and thinking they should be employed just because they turn 18.

    EDUCATION is the key.

    Ty.

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      Education is key but how many education ministers have we had in the last dozen or so years? About a dozen, is the answer. A revolving door does no-one any good

      • Jeremy Deacon says:

        I also believe in ‘Big Government’ here ie supporting people thru subsidized education; payroll tax relief for people who employ someone under the age of 21 plus other incentives etc plus a good safety net that supports people so that they do not have to resort to crime (it’s the leftie in me) and I think those ideas have to run alongside education. I think we have to be a bit more of a caring society/govt

  3. PBanks says:

    Good article. Employment and education should be front-burner issues in Bermuda.

  4. Coffee says:

    OBA better find these youngsters a job !

    • Zevon says:

      It’s not government’s function to ‘find them a job’.

      • Coffee says:

        If the OBA didn’t make the election promise , we wouldn’t be holding them to it . It is important that the OBA works for all of us .

        • Zevon says:

          Oh, keeping promises? That’s important now, is it? Like PLP’s “free public transport for all”? Or PLP’s “free Bermuda College for all”? Or Ewart’s ” Ground will be broken on the Grand Hyatt by November 2011″? And “there are $3bn worth of hotels in the pipeline”.
          That kind of promise?

          • Coffee says:

            Wow , so by your logic these youngsters are casualties of some sort of tit for tat . We are in trouble !

            • serengeti says:

              It was important that the PLP worked for ‘all of us’ too, but they never even tried it. Even now it’s obvious that’s not going to be part of the PLP plan.

      • Jeremy Deacon says:

        It is the Government’s function to help

        • serengeti says:

          The government is helping. But that doesn’t mean they have to go and hold everyone’s hand.

  5. UmJustSaying says:

    Why is it that the 30 plus Educated Elected Members can not or will not address the problems with education? hmmmmm… The present and past Governments are to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. Until we stop playing, MINISTER FOR
    THE MOMENT,with a, goals to fail agenda- positive change to our education system will NEVER come.
    p.s. WHO MADE THE DECISION TO ATTEMPT TO USE THE CAMBRIDGE CURRICULUM AT OUR
    SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL. WILL THE EDUCATED PERSONS PLEASE STEP FORWARD.

  6. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    let’s just suppose for a few minutes that the Government of the Day did ban dark visors…….
    do you really think cops are going to stop everyone that is wearing one?
    do you really think the Police Motor Bike Cops are going to stop wearing theirs?

    This stupid talk about banning dark visors is a waste of time!

  7. I understand your reasoning but….we need jobs accross the board….accross the whole damn board….people are suffering and…it is due to incompitence and frivolous spending and borrowing of a previous govt….per haps….who knows better?…but here we are….NOW….what are we gonna do about it?!

  8. Bermuda123 says:

    An excellent article. Thanks for highlighting it. Perhaps we could have a register of unemployed under 21 year olds and try to “pair” them with employers? It would be interesting to see who really is unemployable and who just needs a chance. The comments on education are valid, but not relevant for the current group of youth unemployed. However, really what the youth need are mentors who counsel them on goals. I’m not sure how many individuals 23% is, but if we made it a priority, I’m sure we could find jobs for the employable ones.

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      Good ideas, let’s hope someone with influence is reading

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