Designing the Future: Unemployment

Young people in Sheffield work towards solving some of the major issues in the world.

Designing the Future: Unemployment

Tash Bright No Comment

These blog posts were collated by Sheffield Futures staff, based entirely on ideas from a range of young people in Sheffield at our ‘Designing the Future’ workshop, where we asked them to discuss various topics, identify the key issues and come up with potential solutions. We strive to give a voice to all young people, so all of their points of view have been included. 



The job market is so over-saturated, employers seem to have no choice but to rely on qualifications and grades for jobs. On the contrary, many jobs are easier to secure if you know the right people – ‘friends of friends’ get a foot in the door without necessarily being the best fit for the role.

Another major issue in employment are personal attributes and skills that are necessary in most jobs. Language barriers present a massive issue for any non-native speaker – it limits their potential to positions where everyone speaks their language. Whilst many roles aren’t customer facing, being ‘likeable’ and sociable seems to be an important factor for many employers. This is an issue for many people who haven’t been taught how to conduct themselves professionally.

Many people seem to lack the confidence to apply for higher-paid jobs because they don’t recognise their skills as being transferable.




The Government should subsidise ideas that encourage local innovation, and promote apprenticeships in small businesses. As well as facilitating growth of start-ups, it can create increased local employment opportunities where apprentices can benefit from the wide-ranging experience provided by small enterprises, helping them to realise the diversity of their skills and map out a career path.

Language workshops and classes should be made publicly available. An alternative could be the promotion of free e-learning tools for language.

Campaigning for corporations to be more lenient with their hiring policies is an important step in ensuring we don’t turn into a grade-reliant society. People should be given the opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness at a particular job, however impressive their CV looks.

Education plays a large part in the solution: contextualising good behaviour in terms of professional conduct would give young people an idea of how they need to behave to retain employment. Schools could also teach more real-world issues in schools – for example, by shifting the focus of maths towards financial literacy, and tackle CV’s and covering letters in English lessons.

We should also do more to give people the confidence to apply for the jobs they can be passionate about by helping them recognise their transferable skills.

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