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The True Meaning of Work: Why Economic Independence holds the key to tackling unemployment

18th May 2015

With the General Election over and Ministerial positions finalised, the government must now turn its attention to implementing its manifesto and addressing the nation’s deep social and economic issues.

Whilst overall unemployment figures are at their lowest level for seven years, youth employment is almost three times as high as the national average. Reducing unemployment must therefore remain high on the government’s agenda and getting young people into work a priority.

But what options are on offer for young people today? And what do we mean by work? Should work mean employment and career progression, or should policy offer more and enable people to make their own choices and realise their full potential?

To discuss this issue, we’re delighted to welcome contributors to the Disraeli Room to provide their take on the meaning of work and why encouraging economic independence could hold the key to tackling and offer local solutions to unemployment.


Barcelona Activa: One City’s Approach To Fostering Economic Independence by Dan Zastawny

A practical, people-centred and grassroots approach to economic growth in a city, and region, should focus on opening up pathways for the local population. There are two elements to this. Initially it should support people to identify the needs and opportunities of their communities and areas …

The True Meaning of Work: A View from Impact Hub Birmingham by Andy Reeve

The true meaning of work, for many, is no longer about employment and career progression – aspirations have moved on from six figure salaries and rising to the top. More and more people are vocal about their desire to work for purpose driven organisations and in places where they can have a positive impact on the world around them, rather than following a traditional career trajectory with a comfortable landing. Economic independence means being able to make choices like this …

Work & Economic Independence: A practical view by Duncan Chamberlain

Perhaps for too long economic independence has seemed a distant, intangible concept far removed from the everyday lives of most of the population. Yet to achieve economic independence on an individual, community, regional and national scale is one of the key graduations of life: the daughter or son who moves from economic dependency on their parents to economic independence offers the individual growth, freedom, choice, confidence, self esteem and has knock on effects for the community in which the individual lives …

Self-Employment in the European Union by Dan Zastawny

The UK is not alone in it’s citizens aspiring to secure their futures, and finances, through self-employment and entrepreneurship. Here in Poland, and across the European Union, individuals want to work for themselves, increasingly need to create their own work and are searching out ways of circumventing the shrinking labour markets and constructing their own platforms to enter it through …

The True Meaning of Work: Lessons from Italy by Duncan Chamberlain

I was sitting in a vibrant Milanese coffee shop a few months ago with three Italian university students – they were sparky, enthusiastic, effective communicators and they had a really good business idea (a music based product – very clever) …

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