Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Hurd and Grit
I'm not sure I quite understand why Nick Hurd's comments on lack of grit among younger people has been controversial.
Looking at what he said, he was making an obvious and indeed important point about the need for younger people to have so called “soft skills" as well as formal qualifications.
“…but just as important to us are so-called soft skills, character skills, the ability to get on with different people, to articulate yourself clearly, confidence, grit, self-control..."
This is right and indeed many would argue schools are not as good at developing those soft skills as they are at teaching for formal qualifications. That is exactly the sort of “offer” you get from involvement in the third sector through volunteering. Many young people do get involved in volunteering, or involved in the many projects and out of school activities that charities organise. And often it’s that show of involvement or commitment that marks out young people when they do look for work.
So he is right. Where however the Government need to do more is in tackling the scourge of youth unemployment. The ACEVO commission on this, headed by David Miliband showed the way. It highlighted the fact that this has been a persistent problem under all governments and more determined, targeted action is needed. It’s surprising that youth unemployment has not become more of a national issue. But that may change. It certainly ought to.