The Citizens Advice movement in Scotland has teamed up with the ‘Young Scot’ organisation to help young people through the economic crisis.
Young Scots and CAB advisers from across central Scotland are gathering in Hamilton today (Thursday) at a special event designed to give young Scots advice on housing, employment and finances. Citizens Advice Scotland have also used the event to announce a national survey of young Scots through Facebook, aimed at assessing young peoples’ hopes and fears for their future.
Maureen Chalmers, Manager of Hamilton CAB (who are hosting today’s event), said,
“Whether they are living at home, going to college, starting a job or on the dole, every young person needs to know what the world expects of them and what rights they have as young adults. And sadly this kind of information is not always given to them by the schools or by the home.
“When people make the transition from childhood into adulthood they face a huge set of challenges, like holding down a job, managing their finances and running their home – whether rented or owned. These things can be very daunting at the best of times. But in the current economic climate there are more challenges than ever. Young Scots need every advantage they can get. They need to know their rights.
“Sadly, there are unscrupulous employers out there who will exploit young workers through things like low wages, long hours and poor conditions - often without a contract. Similarly, some landlords will prey on the inexperience and lack of confidence of young tenants, charging huge rents and evicting them unreasonably. Credit agencies and loan sharks too will often prey on young people for the same reasons – forcing many of them into the debt trap that can be so difficult to get out of.
“We want to give young people the support and the confidence they need to avoid these problems; to say, “No. You’re not allowed to do that. I know my rights!”
Keith Dryburgh, Policy Officer from Citizens Advice Scotland, said,
“In an ideal world this kind of event wouldn’t be necessary. But unfortunately our experience tells us that young people are vulnerable to being exploited. If this campaign saves one young person from debt or from a rogue landlord or bad employer, it will have been worthwhile.
“We are not in the business of scaring people. It’s just about giving them the information they need to live as full and active members of our society. We believe people need to take responsibility for themselves, but to do that they need knowledge and the confidence. That is what this event is about.”
“Following on from the conference, Citizens Advice Scotland are launching a national survey of young people in Scotland, asking them for their hopes and fears for their future. Anyone in Scotland aged between 16-25 can take part in the survey, which can be accessed through the CAS FACEBOOK page: ‘Being Young Being Heard’ which is up and running now.
“The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. We would ask all young people in Scotland to fill it in so we can build up an accurate picture of their needs, and then hopefully we can help them even more in the future.”
NB The Young Scots Advice conference takes place today at the Assembly Hall on Almada Street, Hamilton ML3 0JB. It runs from 3pm-6pm. Journalists, camera crews etc. are welcome (but please let us know).
For more information please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- Half of the jobs lost in the UK over the last year were lost by young people.
- The youth unemployment rate in the UK is now the highest in Europe.
- 1 in 5 young people aged 16-24 is unemployed (for 16-17 year olds the figure is 1 in 3).
- We estimate that around 30,000 people under the age of 25 sought help from a CAB in Scotland last year.
- Of those, 1 in 10 was looking after a child, and 1 in 4 was unemployed.
- Of the young people who came to us last year with a debt problem, the average debt was £10,000 – an astonishing amount given the short period of time they have had to build the debt.