Wasted Youth: Lucy Porter

With Britain's youth unemployment at a record high, we speak to an 18-year-old Londoner about fulfilling aspirations

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These days the headlines cast a sore truth on the state of Broken Britain; "UK unemployment increases to 2.64m", every other major news outlet in the country seems to scream. “We’re the tokens of a broken generation” defers poet Kate Tempest. And the Britain's youth are stuck right in the middle of all of it. As the working world becomes a battle of experience over education, what does the future really hold for the younger generation? Lucy Porter, 18 and from south London's Lewisham, is someone who doesn't see promise. Her experience's are shared by young people across the board. Like any teenager, she's young, aspirational and wants to be successful, but aspiration and imagination aren't enough anymore. We speak to Lucy, in the first of a series of interviews around youth unemployment, to find out from her what it's like living in the country's capital and battling to find work…

Dazed Digital: What’s it like looking for employment as a young person? How do you find it trying to fulfil your aspirations?
Lucy Porter: 
It is undoubtedly difficult finding employment currently, especially as a young person, I have tried dozens of times asking for work in shops, cafes and boutiques and constantly I am met with boundaries and 'were not hiring right now' it's tedious and disheartening... I don't feel as if there is zero opportunity to fulfil my aspirations but I guess if the recession continues and more people remain jobless my optimism will slacken!

DD: Where do you think the problems are in the system? 
Lucy Porter: 
Where do I start?

DD: Do you feel like there's a catch 22 for the younger generation and employment? 
Lucy Porter: 
In some ways yes, there is of course the University debate especially with the increasingly fees. I think some young people have started going to university because there is literally nothing else to do, whether passionate about a subject or not and leave to a jobless world with £40,000 debt. I have friends who have MA's and still cannot find work, anywhere.

DD: Should it be the job of young people, to do the menial jobs, or lower paid work? 
Lucy Porter: 
That's a hard one to answer, I don't think they should hire on account of age but rather experience, which do generally go hand in hand. As a young person I of course feel we deserve jobs that entail skill however on the whole someone 10 years my senior will generally have more experience than me and probably deserves the job more, especially if they have a family to support.

DD: How do you feel about our current market for unpaid internships? Do you think it's fair that companies can get away with saying these schemes are at a benefit to the young person, and that with that they shouldn't pay them? 
Lucy Porter: 
This is an interesting one, as I am currently doing some internships at the moment, but not full 9-5. I think it's unfair of a young person to expect money from an internship if they have no experience, however I do strongly believe it is unfair to put somebody through constant work merely for 'gaining a feel of the work world.' In my opinion unpaid internships are acceptable, only if there is a set agreement that if the intern works hard and is on time they are guaranteed a job at the company after a set few weeks.

DD: Do you feel like there's opportunities available for young people to fulfill their aspirations?
Lucy Porter: 
I do, I'm not going to be drastically negative just yet. It's just far more difficult and far more competitive and definitely not ideal.

DD: What's your view on the market for minimum wage (or less) labour? Is it fair?
Lucy Porter: 
Paying less than minimum wage is 100% unfair. It's called minimum for a reason, even if the worker is under 18 they deserve equal pay as they are doing the exact same thing as somebody older - at least they have the drive to go out and earn some money.

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