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My youth unemployment speech in Bermondsey

Yesterday evening I was invited to deliver a speech on youth unemployment in Bermondsey attended by residents and local councillors Claire Hickson and Tim McNally.

The main part of my speech covered my three suggested solutions to help bring youth unemployment down: Bringing different stakeholders together to form a plan, building business highways to the fastest growing economies and encouraging young people to develop themselves.

Here’s the speech transcript:

Hello everyone. I’m thrilled to be here with you.  It’s a real honour to be invited here to speak to an organisation that is at the beating heart of our community. Thank you to for giving me this opportunity.

I have been asked to speak about youth unemployment. All of us here care enormously about the future of our next generation. As we’re all community activists, we already understand this problem very well. So I’m not going to spend time talking about the current situation. I’m going to quickly talk about three solutions that I think will help. The first is to bring different stakeholders together to form a plan. The second is to create more jobs in the long term. And the third is to encourage young people to develop themselves.

The first solution is to bring key stakeholders together to form a game plan. One thing is very clear: the thinking of employers, educators, and the young people themselves, do not match at all. Research by McKinsey, a leading consulting firm, found that 70% of employers blame inadequate training, while 70% of education providers believe they prepare young people properly to get jobs. Employers complain young people don’t have the skills they need – yet young people insist they do. These stakeholders would think that football and soccer are two different global sports!

I believe that all 3 stakeholders – employers, educators and young people – are responsible for solving this problem. We need to bash their heads together! Ok, maybe that would be a bit harsh! But we definitely need to get them talking to each other.

Did you notice how they elected the new Pope? They locked them in a room until they made a decision and we saw the white smoke. This is how we solve problems in the corporate world as well. Whenever there are big challenges involving teams across different disciplines, we have a lock in and don’t leave the room until we form a game plan to fix it.

In the same way we need to setup a local working group of employers, educators and young people to develop a practical action plan over 3-6 months. They need to produce the white smoke and decide who will do what by when. Afterwards this group should work collaboratively to implement the plan to solve this problem.  And if it needs-be, then it can seek advice from experts in this area, but it must deliver the solution. 

The second solution is to create more jobs here.  By being creative, I have been able to provide over 500 contracting jobs at Global Markets Consultants, a management consulting company I launched in the City of London and New York in 2002.

We can create jobs by building business highways between Southwark and fast growing economies in China, India and Nigeria. Let’s look at enterprise zones that make businesses want to set up shop here and create jobs for our young people. Even better, let’s send the best trained workforce, which is familiar with the local culture too, out there to win service contracts.

The bottom line is we need to connect NOW with those places where the opportunities will come from.

The third solution is to encourage young people to develop themselves. I want to see young people confidently taking the steering wheel of their lives

Did you know that people spend six hours every day to make others celebrities? This is how much time each person in London spends on watching television and on texting, emailing and surfing social networking sites!

By spending huge amounts of time and energy on these activities, we’re willingly playing into the hands of Hollywood stars, sports celebrities and social media owners.  As a result, they’re millionaires and billionaires and we’re not fully realizing our own dreams.

I figured this out when I was young. I always asked myself whether I could put the experience on my CV or talk about it in an interview. I started to spend my time in three ways: on community participation, challenging activities, and developing a global profile.

As a result I’ve become a Magistrate, ran the London Marathon raising more than £5,000 for Get Kids Going, a charity supporting disabled children, made friends from different countries and experienced their cuisines. Let me tell you if you want to have the most delicious food tonight: have Suya with Jilof rice!

So I strongly suggest we encourage young people to reallocate 5 hours each day to personal development. It doesn’t matter what the time is spent on. But it must strengthen their CVs and success will kiss their feet everyday.

By the way, I’m sure Sky television will blacklist me now!

In summary, I’ve told you some of my ideas on youth unemployment: bring stakeholders together, build business highways and encourage young people to develop themselves.

I’d like to close by sharing the best advice I ever got from my mother. She said: “You’ll never become a pianist by having your picture taken with a piano”.

Thank you very much.

Written by Prem Goyal