I know it doesn’t feel like it, but Dude fans have friends in high places, battling for you right now. And some of them, I suspect, have been reading their very own copy of Dude.
In what I’d feared could be a giant yawn of a lecture last week at London’s RSA, an expert economist warned politicians to make you lot a priority – or face the consequences.
People, the next hour was riveting.
Professor David (‘Danny’) Blanchflower, ex-member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and all-round ninja economist, blasted the current government’s initiatives to help you as “not nearly enough” and warned that without proper support, graduate joblessness could rise even further.
Given that it’s already predicted that 40,000 of you will still be unemployed by Christmas – that’s enough to fill a football stadium – I reckon that’s pretty shocking.
Danny also said he’d dusted off the history books and discovered that a long period of unemployment early in a graduate’s career can impact their earning potential into the future. In his words, a spell out of work can leave not “temporary blemishes”, but “permanent scars” on a person’s career.
Happily, listening to Danny’s speech were a few people who can do something about it (if they want to), including Stephen Timms MP (financial secretary to the Treasury) and David Willetts MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills).
And Dude was thrilled to see (from the panel discussion following Danny’s killer speech) that not only were they getting the message that this was a serious business, but that they they seemed to have twigged (at last!) that providing engaging, useful careers advice is a crucial piece of the puzzle in helping get young people out of the current swamp we – as a nation – have landed you in, and back into work.
I’m telling you, it was as if they’d all been reading Dude in the taxi on their way there. I was chuffed to bits.
Career advice “must be better”, said another panel member, Miles Templeman, director-general at the Institute of Directors. He declared it currently “Way behind where it should be.”
David Willetts and Wes Streeting, President of the NUS, nodded in agreement.
Stephen Timms then pointed out that a young person’s first job “May not be something they stay in forever.”
Gentlemen! What have I been saying for YEARS?!
By the end of the talk I was so encouraged by what I’d heard that I bounded up to the panel to introduce myself. (What can I say, I’d had a lot of coffee… The lecture started at 10.30am and I’m not a mornings girl).
I gave out books and business cards (I know, don’t – cringe!) and a proposal of a fabulous new plan I’m working on, to help graduates further.
Let’s hope at least some of them realise that Dude’s Army has something very important to tell them…