This time last year things were looking up for 21 year old Lucy. She had just started a new job at Tiger after several months of searching and was really enjoying it. Fast forward a year and things look very different. After being furloughed for several months due to the pandemic, Lucy’s shop closed in Newcastle. The company did all they could to try to help its workers and transferred her to the Sunderland branch but this too ultimately closed. Even though Lucy is very experienced in retail, each position she is applying for in this sector is attracting a record number of applicants in the same boat.
It used to be a tradition that when you couldn’t get a job, you ‘got on your bike’ and moved to get one. Think of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, a TV programme about seven unemployed Brits who moved to Germany to find employment. However, this is virtually impossible in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. Moreover, when the pandemic passes, UK citizens will no longer be eligible to freely work In the 27 countries of the EU due to Brexit coming fully into force from January 2021. It is also anticipated that many other jobs will be axed the deeper we get into the second wave and also due to companies potentially folding because of trading tariffs that are likely to come into force in the New Year. When other countries will be recovering from the pandemic next year, therefore, we will still be facing big economic challenges of a different kind. We will also no longer be entitled to help from the EU recovery aid which have supported our high streets during the pandemic.
With Lucy’s freedoms curtailed in so many ways she, and many other young people, are certainly having a tough time of it at the moment. With no nights out with friends allowed to ease the pain it’s going to be a long hard winter. Let’s hope Boris Johnson considers this during the current crunch time Brexit talks and gets a good deal for the sake of everybody but especially our young people.