Willing youngsters must not be left to flounder

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It’s perhaps too simplistic to draw a correlation between two issues our local authority is grappling with.

Today, the watchdog scrutiny panel will hear evidence on the prevalence of underage drinking and the toll it is taking on the individuals concerned and the support organisations who, with some success, are attempting to rebuild affected lives.

And last week, the council revealed that it had acted swiftly on a report from the same panel urging it to increase work experience placements within its organisation.

As Councillor John Paton-Day observed after attending a seminar on how to address spiralling youth unemployment, the council is making some progress but much more needs to be done.

Amen to that.

He admits it is hard for people of his generation to put themselves in the place of today’s school leavers, perhaps with limited academic achievements, facing, though no fault of their own, a life of joblessness and benefit dependency.

And he is right to infer that creating work, even on a temporary basis, for our young people is one of the most important duties a civilised society can perform.

As TheSouthern knows, providing work experience can be a mixed blessing. Some of our temporary tyros adapt happily and leave, if not inspired, then certainly better prepared for the world of work. Others are like fish out of water, but that does not mean they should flounder.

We must all look for ways to help them float.