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bigcolourful-front-webWith A-level results looming, this week’s airwaves have been sagging with the doom and gloom of how hard young people are being hit by the ‘recession’ or as I prefer to call it, (thanks, Charlie Brooker) ‘moneygeddon’.

On top of the pessimism around A-level results and university places, it was reported today that people aged 18-24 are the most affected by jobs shortages with one in six young people not in education, employment or training. The total figure of young people out of work is 835,000 – 100,000 higher than this time last year and there’s speculation that it’s going to get worse.

It’s enough to make anyone give up on job hunting, step away from the constant cutting and pasting of CVs and just go surfing.

Which ironically could work in your favour in Cornwall, where an innovative new programme is taking a fresh approach to jobseeking; upskilling young people to find jobs in the growing UK surf industry by tapping into their passion for paddling out.

Cross Step, a pilot entry to employment programme from the Real Ideas Organisation is a six week training scheme for for young people aged 16-25 and not in education employment or training. Led by longboarding champion and founder of Errant Surf Travel, Chris Thomson, the course  trains recruits in  surf instruction and lifeguarding, so that they graduate with a NARS Beach Lifeguard Award and a British Surfing Association (BSA) Award, as well as work experience and further surf coach training.

On top of that, they also get the chance to grow marketing and presentation skills, develop their CVs and build industry contacts; fully equipping them to forge bright futures in the world of water sports.

The Cross Step pilot programme came to an end in July and already two of the four Cross Steppers have found employment in the surf industry. So that’s only 834,998 young people to go then. Excellent.

The programme is set to kick off again in March 2010 and plans are being hatched to run courses almost back to back throughout next summer.

Now there’s a step in the right direction.

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