The young are facing a crisis and we must help them

07_Social Design

Brendan Kilpatrick makes the moral and pragmatic case for finding ways to invest in the next generation

Last week I took part in one of a series of webinars arranged by Building Design to celebrate the Architect of the Year Awards. The one I was involved with was about how to survive a recession and one of the subjects raised was how young architects and designers are faring in the current environment.

This is certainly not a good time to be leaving education and there are 700,000 young people doing just that this year. In addition, there are 408,000 people currently unemployed between the ages of 18-24. This is the age group of most part I and part II architectural students and it is a figure that is bound to increase come November when the government’s job retention scheme ends. It is also the age group that has the least attention in terms of financial support and well-being.

At the commencement of the government’s scheme, the temptation among many companies – and actually carried out by a few – was to place on furlough all young pre-qualified staff. This is akin to taking the family silver to a pawnbroker. Setting aside the duty of care that we as practitioners owe to the younger members of our profession, we need to recognise the talent, ingenuity and energy that our young members of staff possess. They are the future of the profession.

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