Have you ever gone for a job interview or spent time filling out an application only to find that this entry level/graduate position requires several years of "experience" in the role? Yeah, you are not alone. This never ending spiral of needing experience for a job which would give you experience and without that you cannot have the position and therefore never get the experience, it's trapped us all at some time or another.
I had made my peace with this devilish feature of job hunting. However, recently, it appears companies have found another way to gate off jobs from young people - necessitating a driving license.
I have noticed that many job advertisements have started asking applicants to provide details about a candidate's' ability to drive, whether the position requires travel or not. I don't know about you but learning to drive, in London especially, is extremely expensive. So in addition to building years of experience, often through unpaid internships, young people are now facing the prospect of having to learn to drive before they are permitted to earn money.
With lessons now going for an average of £24 an hour in the UK added to a minimum of 20 hours that we are expected to need to learn everything (not including practice), for those of us with no access to cars to practice in our own time we are looking at £420 as a minimum starting price to learn to drive. Add on extra lessons for practice, the 3 hours you will need to book just to have the car for your test and any additional hours you might need because, let's be honest, everyone learns at different speeds, you are looking at a very large amount of money that young people paying rent and trying to live cannot realistically afford. Some companies like BSM offer a package start-up deal, allowing you to buy a batch of hours at a discounted price. However, with this still working out to be over £20 per hour and with young people struggling to make ends meet, could you afford to pay £230 all at once?
A lot of positions start off as an unpaid internships just to get your foot in the door, meaning many of us are looking at working for nothing. You spend your days learning the skills required for your intended position, but do so for no remuneration, leaving you unable to afford other skills, like the ability to drive.
The older generation are constantly under the impression that we aren't looking for work, that we lack drive, and choose to rent rather than buy. They seem to believe that the 'drive' for work, and the desire to own a house will magically spring these finite assets into existence.
The reality is that mortgages are beyond the reach of today's young people, who are the first generation in modern times to be financially worse off than their predecessors. This squeeze on the 20-somethings is only compounded by our inability to find a job because we lack the financial support to work for free to gain the experience oxymoronically required for an entry position. And now we are going to have to outlay even more before we can get our foot in the door.
The worst part is that there's no real way out. All we can do is continue to apply for jobs, hoping that our lack of experience and inability to drive doesn't stop an employer from considering us for the position. When we cannot meet the requirements on paper to begin with, how can we ever show our shining personalities, and our strong drive to learn and do well? We can't and this needs to change, sooner rather than later!