Learning To Fail: How Society Lets Young People Down by Fran Abrams
(Routledge, 2009)

Learning To Fail: How Society Lets Young People Down

by Fran Abrams

During a decade of relative prosperity from the mid-1990s onward, governments across the developed world failed to crack one major issue – youth unemployment. Even when economic growth was strong, one young person in ten in the United Kingdom was neither working nor learning. As the boom ended, the number of young people dropping out after leaving school – already acknowledged to be too high - began to rise at an alarming rate. As governments face up to the prospect of a new generation on the dole, this book examines the root causes of the problem.

Through the stories of these young people, Learning To Fail reveals how marginalised young people are let down on every step of their journey. Growing up in areas where aspiration has died or barely ever existed, with parents who struggle to guide them on life in the 21st century, they are let down by schools where teachers underestimate them, by colleges and careers advisers who mislead them and by an employment market which has forgotten how to care or to nurture. Learning to Fail goes behind the headlines about anti-social behaviour, drugs and teenage pregnancy to paint a picture of real lives and how they are affected by outside forces. It gives a voice to ordinary parents and youngsters so they can speak for themselves about what Britain needs to do to turn its teenage failures into a success story.

Reviews

This is a highly readable book with an uncomfortable message.”
- Tribune