Are apprenticeships better than university? You tell us

Apprentices are often talked up, but how many live up to the hype? Jonathan Todd investigates.

Since Demos launched our project on the future of apprenticeships, it has been heartening how many people have been in touch, clearly eager that the opportunities afforded by apprenticeships are maximised. One of these has been Lottie Dexter, who launched the Million Jobs Campaign in January this year. This is asking all political parties to commit to helping the roughly one million young people who are unemployed. As part of this, they are calling for efforts to ensure that all school pupils...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 28 Nov 2013
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Step up to Serve: The Twitter pledge-o-meter

Carl Miller shows how social media plays an integral role in getting more young people volunteering.

Twitter today has been full of good will, or - specifically - #iwill. This is thanks to the Step up to Serve campaign, launched today at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. With major support from Government, business and the third sector, it is a major push to get over half of young people regularly taking practical action in the service of others by 2020. This is an important initiative. Demos’ research in support of the campaign finds tha...

Posted by Carl Miller on 21 Nov 2013
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Stepping it up

Spurring a generation of volunteers will require an ambitious change in attitudes, says Jonathan Birdwell.

Youth unemployment, climate change, economic inequality, the rising cost of living, the rising cost of education, and the list goes on.  The next generation is going to have to grapple with these problems. Yet young people are disillusioned with traditional politics as a means of changing the world. They cannot sit around and wait for today’s politicians to solve their problems. They have more tools then ever to affect change, but they need to be inspired, recognised and supported...

Posted by Jonathan Birdwell on 21 Nov 2013
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The growth of the anti-establishment

Jamie Bartlett reports on the burgeoning broadly left-wing oppositional movements in Hungary.

Something pretty big is happening in politics at the moment across Europe. Confidence and trust in national and international political institutions is falling, along with voter turnout. New parties and movements – sometimes quite radical ones – are enjoying dramatic increases in support. For the last two years at Demos, we’ve been studying the growth of oppositional parties and movements across Europe, from left and right of the political spectrum (and those who say they a...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 13 Nov 2013
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The rising political temperature of apprenticeships

Jonathan Todd explains why apprenticeships look set to be a key political battleground in 2015.

The politics of apprenticeships are getting hotter. They've long enjoyed support across all parties and across much of the electorate. Even if both the politicians and the voters have been a bit hazy in their understanding of what exactly they entail, and how we might get the most out of them. Now, however, the internal dynamics of both the Labour and Conservative parties are making apprenticeships more politically contested. Andrew Adonis for Labour and Robert Halfon for the Conservativ...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 08 Nov 2013
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A spiral of violence?

Jamie Bartlett and Jonathan Birdwell put some assumptions about extremism and the EDL to the test.

Since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22nd 2013, there has been public and policy concern over spiralling violence between Islamist and far-right groups in the UK. Academics and experts refer to this as ‘cumulative’ or ‘reciprocal’ radicalisation / extremism.   In this short provocation essay, we test four assumptions of this concept, and suggest that further research work is necessary before it is of practical valu...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 04 Nov 2013
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Five ideas to open up intelligence

Carl Miller lays out five ways the security services can become more open.

For decades we have been living through a change in our expectations of how Government works. From the NHS to social care, culture to transport, the boundaries of Government have become much more porous, more open, more participatory. Service users, interest groups, community leaders, professional bodies, charities and campaigners have been brought in, and the civil service has reached out. This philosophy – that transparent, participatory and collaborative Government is good government...

Posted by Carl Miller on 04 Nov 2013
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Crossing the Rubicon

Chris Tryhorn on the consequences of the Royal Charter on press regulation.

So it’s finally happened: the royal charter that will bring a new system of press regulation into place has been granted by the privy council, after the press failed in a last-ditch attempt to derail the process. This is not the end of the story, as the press has vowed to continue with its plans to set up its own regulator as well as persist with challenges to the new arrangements. If the entire newspaper and magazine industry somehow got together and decided unanimously to boycott the...

Posted by Chris Tryhorn on 31 Oct 2013
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What can we learn from Islamic finance?

The UK should use the Islamic Finance Forum to think beyond trade, urges Jodie Ginsberg.

This week, London will become the first city outside the Muslim world to host the World Islamic Economic Forum – an annual meeting of business executives, policymakers and financiers. It is an opportunity for Britain to sell itself as a premier destination for Islamic finance and tap into the estimated $1.5 trillion (£928 billion) of ­Islamic investment funds worldwide. Deals worth around £5.8 billion were struck at last year’s Forum, and the possibility of...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 29 Oct 2013
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Are we the baddies?

Max Wind-Cowie: the Conservative party should support the hardworking people of Grangemouth.

‘Hans... are we the baddies?’ So asks David Mitchell of Robert Webb in a sketch in which it begins to dawn on two Nazis that they may, in fact, be on the wrong side. It’s the little clues that perturb Mitchell, and the skull and crossbones emblem on his uniform that eventually proves to him that yes they are, in fact, ‘the baddies’. And that’s the thing. If the side you’re on looks and sounds like they might be ‘the baddies’ it’s ...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 24 Oct 2013
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