We must ensure regeneration is part of the answer to the ‘second wave’ of recession

I know I’ve been banging on about unemployment ad nauseam recently, but it really is the key issue of the day.

Today’s Audit Commission report (When it comes to the crunch – How councils are responding to the recession) makes grim reading.

It reports that the UK is still in the first phase of the downturn, which is characterised by  business failures, bankruptcies and unemployment.

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But it also says the country will soon be facing a “second wave of consequences triggered by long-term unemployment”.

It finds that local and national government have made a positive initial response to the recession, but it warns that councils should prepare for worsening social impact as unemployment rises and the figures released today reinforce that continual upward trend.

Demand for benefits, welfare and help with debt are growing, and social problems such as domestic violence and mental ill-health are expected to follow as the recession deepens.

The devastating impact of unemployment – now 2.44m and rising – will be felt for many years to come after we come out of recession. This is a challenge that the regeneration sector MUST rise to NOW!

We really are so uniquely placed to bring together everyone who has a role to play in getting people back to work from across every part of the industry to develop real and sustainable solutions. But we need to respond with much, much greater urgency.

I do feel that we are running to catch up with all of this. Creating viable jobs that meet the needs of a new, post-recession, world order is critical. Supporting the growth of viable businesses and identifying those with the potential to create and build new businesses is imperative. Encouraging people to think ‘outside the box’ in relation to their own careers is also vital.

It was interesting, at a recent BURA Members’ Breakfast, to hear of people’s first hand experiences in the job market and the realisation that the career paths that we have become used to may longer be an option.

Accessing new opportunities requires a very different mindset, together with new sales and marketing skills for securing new opportunities.

There are opportunities out there but do we have the tools to track them down and secure them? Equipping people with these tools would be an amazing first step.

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