I have spent most of my professional life developing, designing, reviewing – and sometimes even implementing and managing – programmes and strategies to reduce unemployment. I have seen the impact that getting a job can have on people and their families and the wider community – I can’t think of anything more rewarding.
Recently my work has focused on responding to some worrying trends. The depth of the recession seems to have created a downward ratchet in some of more deprived areas – with a bigger gap opening up between their economic health and scale of unemployment and national trends. This is raising a set of new questions – for example, how to help young people broaden their horizons and gain the skills and confidence they need to thrive in places unfamiliar to them.