The second half of 2009 has seen the worst levels of unemployment amongst young people in 14 years. Over 1,000,000 people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work and that figure is only set to rise as more jobs are cut and young people leave education. The Prince's Trust has worked out that a young person lost a job almost every minute between March and May alone. At the moment the figures suggest that one in every six young people is unemployed and is not in education, an unacceptable figure is how Lord Mandelson the Business Secretary described it. Whilst the government is making promises to get all 18 to 24-year-olds who have been on the dole for 12 months into a job, training programme or work placement by March 2010, for the young people unemployed now, this may all be too little too late.
So what are the alternatives?
I would like to be able to suggest that skilled workers settle for unskilled jobs but vacancies for these types of positions are as low as any other. The number of people claiming benefits has risen as the rate of unemployment soars which signals that many young people are able to live off the amount of money they receive. This is often helped by the fact that most can live rent free with their parents and can afford to give up money guzzling amenities like cars. However, remaining unemployed for a number of months will not help your career prospects when more jobs become available. One of the best options that many young people are taking is to apply for teaching jobs abroad.
Becoming a teacher in a foreign language has been a popular activity for many young people on gap years and travelling excursions. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is a profitable skill to master, as developing and booming countries alike are keen for their young population to learn English as well as their native dialect.
Courses are available through the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) and Trinity College London who offer a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The courses can be studied part-time or full-time through education facilities around the world. This means that if you decide to take a teaching job abroad, not only do you have the chance to discover new cultures and countries, you also get paid to teach English whilst discovering!
China, Japan, Europe and South America are all popular places for young people to travel to whilst completing their TEFL/TESOL courses, but there are opportunities in nearly every non-English speaking county in the world. You need to decide which country is best for you and also which type of course and centre you want to learn with. Some training centres can guarantee TEFL and TESOL graduates a job on completion of the course, whilst others let you be totally independent. The latter choice is a good one to make if you intend to move around the world to teach, looking for a new challenge.
So whilst there might not be any jobs for you in England, there are so many opportunities just waiting to be taken up around the world. Teaching jobs abroad allow you to teach others, but you will learn so much about yourself as well. The experience is also sure to make you a better candidate for a job vacancy when you decide to return to Britain.