For all the talk of green shoots and France and Germany exiting the recession the fact of the matter in Scotland, notwithstanding Edinburgh's strong performance, is that recovery is a long way off. And, even when we do return to the days of economic growth it will be slow and protracted.
Figures released recently paint a bleak picture, particularly in relation to unemployment which as we know is a lagging indicator. Official data shows that UK unemployment increased by 220,000 in three months to June, reaching a 14 year high.
There is a distinct possiblity of another "lost generation" as illustrated by the fact that there was an increase of more than 50,000 under 25's without work, bringing the total in June to 928,000. As David Blanchflower stated in the Guardian today, "this is not a good time to be young and looking for a job". Importantly, these figures do not include the thousands upon thousands of individuals who entered the contracting labour market after graduating. The levels of youth unemployment in Britain exceeds that of France, Germany and other EU member states.
In response the UK Government pointed to their new "Backing Young Britain" campaign which is "bringing businesses and public and voluntary sectors together to ensure that the valuable skills and experience of our young people aren't being wasted"
Undeniably we all have a role to play in preventing the hopelessness and despair which characterized the lives of many young people in the last recession. At the Centre we are currently re-working our internship programme to provide policy-making opportunities to those very graduates who are struggling to obtain unemployment or experience.
Further details will be posted very shortly.