Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Carrot or the Stick.

This story is about the young man holding the European Owl over the unsuspecting head of the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Montgomeryshire. His name is Ryan, and a few months ago, he was one of the long term unemployed in Rhyl. Along with three other youngsters, also long term unemployed from Rhyl, he joined a study course in falconry, based at the Mid Wales Falconry at Pen-y-Bryn Farm, near Castle Caereinion in Montgomeryshire.

Over the last few weeks, Ryan has undergone a transformation. Along with developing a new skill, he has developed confidence and an outgoing personality. He knows that he has the skill to do things that very few others can do - free-fly the world's most impressive birds. From being someone with no prospects of structured life, based on employment, he now loves his work.

Helping the long term unemployed into work was the subject of the fringe meeting I chaired at last weekend's Conservative Conference at Llandudno. The issue is whether the more effective way to persuade young people who have been living on benefit to find work is by use of the carrot or the stick. Most people I talk to believe it should be the stick, but I'm not so sure. Systems which force unwilling youngsters to do some mindless work would need hugely expensive supervision to operate. And they don't change the mindset of the individuals concerned - except to make them even more resentful of society. Today I learned about a scheme which persuaded Ryan, and two others, to do it all voluntarily and enthusiastically.

Alongside me is Brynle Williams AM, and Jim Paice MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, who presented achievement certificates to Ryan - a very proud young man.


Alwyn ap Huw said...

When birds of prey are hovering above your head you know that you're in trouble Glyn!

James. said...

At last, a bit of "common" sense.

Of course young people respond well to professionally delivered incentives and training.
Thoughts of cold showers, chain gangs and the birch may excite some folk, but those days are, like their marine counterparts of rum, sodomy and the lash, , best left in the darker corners of human histories.
Anyone who thinks that the stick will triumph over the carrot, should examine the tale of Eire, where the British stick was never heeded, and after 800 years of murderous dissent, finally, only a negotiated political settlement, (with many, many, fresh and tasteful carrots), could disarm and disperse the warring factions.

Anonymous said...

How do you help someone who has been on long term unemployment and on incapacity benefit due to mental illness?

Glyn Davies said...

Alwyn - It was only an owl, not a vulture.

James - Both the stick and the carrot have their place, but the carrot (where appropriate) delivers best results. The best analogy is the fable of the sun and the wind challenge about which is the most powerful.

Anon - An unansweraable question. Too many variables. In general, mental illness remains largely unrecognised and not taken seriously. But I do know of examples of good practice.