Jobs for the Boys


Gettting An Interview (c) R Dennison 2013

Gettting An Interview (c) R Dennison 2013

Last month I wrote about Ben Drew’s Each One Teach One initiative.  This is a charitable trust which intends to Fund inspiring projects to help young people to build their skills and in turn improve their lives and link up youth provision, so their journey makes more sense.

It seems to me these organisational goals make a lot of sense, for young people on the starting blocks and ready to compete.

As the BBC’s Panorama programme ‘Jobs for the Boys’ showed recently there are some young people for whom the challenge is getting to the start line in the first place.

The programme, which was presented by ex-Arsenal footballer Sol Campbell, looked at the disproportionately high impact of unemployment on young black men.  Apparently the rate of unemployment for young black men is roughly twice that of their white counterparts.

This sounds like there is an extra bit of thinking involved in asking young black men the three classic goal-related questions:

–       What do you want to achieve?

–       When do you want to achieve it?

–       What is the first step in that direction?

The extra question, to explore in some depth, could be:  What challenges could you face in reaching your goal?

Those challenges could be internal (self -esteem related) or external (trying to succeed in a harsh employment climate).  Either way, if the goal is ‘to be successful at a job interview’ then there may be challenges ahead.

One key ingredient could be culturally informed action and support, to foster the sense of self-esteem of young black men, where that is the principle barrier to success.

Certainly the Department for Work and Pensions and their partners working directly with unemployed people have their work cut out addressing this issue.

Good luck as well to organisations like the Black Training and Enterprise Group ( ).  This non-profit, led by Jeremy Crook, is active in addressing the backdrop, against which disadvantage arises.

Fingers crossed that in a decade young black men will be much less likely to be unemployed.  With the successful intervention of positively motivated groups and individuals they may just be achieving their goals more easily.

Each One Teach One

Plan B aka Ben Drew

Plan B aka Ben Drew (Photo credit: Beacon Radio)

If you achieve your life’s ambition (through hard work) you might choose to sit back and enjoy the trappings of success, once you earn them.  Kudos to Ben Drew (aka the musician / film maker Plan B) for choosing to do more than count his cash but to support others, so they too can become successful.

His charitable trust Each One Teach One – – has developed out of an idea previously explored in a TED presentation.   It has two stated aims, to:

  • Fund inspiring projects to help young  people to build their skills and in turn improve their lives.
  • Link up youth provision to strengthen the sector and help the journey make more sense to young people.

The coverage in the Guardian newspaper explains the trust will operate in East London initially and aims to provide disadvantaged 14 to 25 year olds with a ‘University of alternative learning’.  It will also provide the support, mentoring and counselling that they may have missed out on due to their family, community, or academic situations.

I think this is an inspiring idea.  There are plenty of young people who are motivated to do something with their lives, but who have not enough confidence to articulate their goals or make life plans.  The EOTO model could provide the extra support they need to answer the 3 basic goal setting questions:

  1. What is it that I want to achieve in my life?
  2. When do I want this experience this achievement?
  3. What is my first step to start heading in that direction?

Will this model solve all of the problems of disadvantaged youths in society?  Is Mr Drew right on all counts?  Probably not, but an effort like EOTO could make a significant difference to those motivated to engage with it and keep pushing forward.

Those who scoff at efforts to change will still be wasting their time hanging around in their communities – or getting into trouble and caught up in the criminal justice system.  Who knows, even those youths may come to realise they too can set goals and change their situation, if they want to.