Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/637/10190
We won't be a lost generation!
Youth Fight for Jobs protest outside the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, photo by Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Young people face an uncertain future. The Con-Dem butchers have turned their axe to education in what is set to be the most savage attack on the public sector since the welfare state was established.
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
Budget cuts, started by New Labour, are estimated by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) to be likely to cause 34,000 job losses in Further Education if allowed to go ahead. Under the new government this figure could be even higher.
These attacks all come at a time when almost one in five young people have been labelled NEETS (not in education, employment or training). A massive squeeze on Higher Education funding has meant over 180,000 young people scrambling to have access to the paltry number of university places available through clearing this year. The knock on effect of this has meant thousands are also being turned away from colleges.
As the doors of college and university are slammed in the faces of young people, they may look to the world of work to save them from the dole queue. But there are no jobs! There are more than ten applicants for every job on average and nearly 70 for graduate positions!
But these cuts are not inevitable! If the government can find billions of pounds to bail out bankers, fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and renew Trident nuclear missiles, why can they not guarantee a future for young people? With a mass campaign organised both locally and nationally, uniting students with education unions and the wider working class, it is possible to defeat the government.
On 20 October, the government's Comprehensive Spending Review will announce even more education cuts. The Youth Fight for Jobs day of action on this date must mark the start of the fightback. Mass protests, demonstrations and student walkouts, when combined with strike action by education unions and unity between students and all workers fighting cuts, can defeat the government and save education!
"I see students getting turned away, shifted from pillar to post as they desperately try to get on vocational courses, no matter what they are, because they are desperate to get not just a decent future through education, but a means to survive right now! All education staff are being worked to the bone. For me what is key is that the education unions and students link up to fight back. It's getting almost unbearable for us all."
University and Colleges Union (UCU) activist, Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff
"It seems to me that grades are now less important than who can buy private tuition, afford private schools and who can move easily into the catchment area for the best schools. In a nutshell, if your education is purely funded by the state, applying for university is becoming a bloodthirsty, cut-throat process."
Sam Lewis, Cardiff
"Many of my friends had fantastic grades at A-Level and still couldn't get into uni, even through clearing. We shouldn't be treated like this!"
Alex Richardson, Hastings
In The Socialist 9 September 2010:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party review