Young people speak out through new platform

Somebody. Pic: Anna Sorensen

Shaniqua Benjamin, founder of Young People Insight. Pic: Anna Soerensen

A scheme which gives young people the chance to speak out about issues affecting them held its second forum meeting on February 16, addressing employment and the complications that young people face in the working world.

Shaniqua Benjamin, 23, started Croydon-based Young People Insight after she launched her short film, “What would you say?” in December with the help of the charity Fixers UK which aimed to raise awareness about the limitations young people have to deal with.

She said: ““We need to learn to work together to make things better for ourselves, make the change that we want to see. I know Croydon is really coming up at the moment and I want young people to be a major part of that.”

With Young People Insight, Benjamin aims to consider issues such as education, knife crime, homelessness, mental illness and this weeks topic; employment. Croydon has been named as the worst borough in London for youth unemployment.

Attendees expressed concerns that if you’re young, even with a degree, it’s difficult to get a job. Either not having enough work experience or too many people applying for the same job results in graduates being forced to do jobs unrelated to their degrees.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows half of all UK graduates are in non-graduate appropriate jobs and over-qualification is a serious issue.

Benjamin hopes in the future the forum will become big enough to have an impact on these problems. She said: “I plan to get out in the summer and do some outreach myself in Croydon Town Centre, while also writing more pieces to raise awareness for other media platforms.

Young People Insight meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month at Project B in Croydon.

Additional reporting by Anna Soerensen.

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