‘Unemployable’ – how early does it start?

How is it that some people are unemployable?

It’s not just a case of having some basic skills such as reading and writing, though that lack does stop many from getting any job but the most basic manual ones. It also has something to do with the ability to use skills and judgement consistently. But one of the most difficult criteria is that which requires the person to be disciplined. To come to work daily, work consistently throughout the hours, with only the appropriate breaks, on an on-going basis.

When Jamie Oliver started that restaurant with the ‘beginners’ who had never had jobs previously, there were several dropouts who just couldn’t handle the requirement to come to work every day and work the hours required. They all came from homes where the parents are on the dole, no one in the family has the discipline to do so, so where does one expect the children to learn it? Obviously some people rise above their circumstances and surroundings, but not all can do so.

We hear stories here of teachers telling pupils that they don’t need to learn much at school, all they need to do is visit the sangoma and they will get a job. So again patterns of no self-discipline are started, and even if they do land a job through the intervention of the sangoma, they seldom can keep it.

Watching Freakonomics (how do you spell it anyway?) and the section on paying kids to raise their school grades, one young chap caught on and worked like crazy, another who thought the money would be great, just found his ‘social’ activities (skateboarding and computer gaming) so much more interesting he somehow just never got around to homework.

Is there a case for taking youngsters who, on their own, can’t respond to the requirements for learning – such as putting in the time and effort – to be taken from their homes and put into boarding schools with a lot of discipline and no access to the distractions until the work is done? Can they learn to be productive if they have little opportunity for not being productive? Or are the behaviour patterns set from so young that a strict school at the early teen level be too late?

Goodness I think I may be proposing state control of people from a young age? What a dreadful thought. But what if such schooling was available at reasonable rates? Would the parents of the under-performers be willing to send them there? Would they even turn out the kids as themselves, but with more self-discipline?

On that note I suppose I should exercise some of that self-discipline and get my working day started.

6 thoughts on “‘Unemployable’ – how early does it start?

  1. Maybe people should have to take parenting classes and prove that they understand the concept of personal responsibility BEFORE being allowed to have kids?

  2. What an interesting post! Loved it.
    Working in a school I can tell you this: there is no rhyme or reason to what motivates someone to want to learn. I see kids from good homes with good parents who achieve absolutely nothing, and then others who work hard all the time. Likewise, kids from homes where nothing is stable will be exactly the same — some will want to work so hard to raise themselves above their circumstances and others just don’t seem to care. It’s tough, I try to be a role model, daily, to all the kids in our school, but there are days when I have to shake my head and say: “Why bother?” In the end people will be what they will be, regardless of what opportunities they are or are not given.
    Have a great day.

  3. It’s interesting how our definitions of ‘unemployable’ might vary though.

    I’m male, 49 and recently diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

    I’m unemployed and have never had a job, I do everything and more that is asked of me by the jobcentre and training providers; yet because of other people’s attitudes and prejudices towards me I am in effect unemployable. This isn’t because I’m unable to do the tasks involved with holding down a job; it’s because my mere presence would be very disruptive…for a variety of reasons.

    It’s estimated that the unemployment rate for people with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome is as high as 95%, yet we get no extra help whatsoever in finding work.

  4. I am putting my little girl into a ALL GIRLS school, and hoping that will be a step in FOCUSING in the the right direction.
    I may be terribly wrong. Let’s see.

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