Young Derry man, Aaron McDowell, has ambitions like all other 20 year-olds.
Aaron is determined to set-up his own barber shop someday but until the dream becomes a reality he has to chase jobs like they are proverbial golden eggs.
“There are not enough jobs out there for young people my age,” said Aaron.
“I’m willing to do any job but the experience some employers are looking for is ridiculous. How can a young man like me get experience if no-one will give me a job?”.
Aaron is also involved with Youth Action NI, a charitable organisation that works with young people to make sure they are treated equally, respected and valued.
On Tuesday, Aaron and several other young men from Youth Action NI presented a special screening of a film they made called ‘#NotALabel’ in the Nerve Centre.
Although brief, the film delivers fantastic insight into what it is like for young men attempting to find employment or training in Derry.
‘#NotALabel’ tackles the issue of how people can be quick to judge young unemployed men and adhere to narrow minded stereotypes.
“I don’t want to be on the dole all my life - I want to get a job and pay my way like everyone else,” said 18 year-old Dale Simpson from the Waterside.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times an adult has looked at me and within the space of five seconds they think they know me.
“It’s sad that so many older people are quite close minded. All of the young people I know want good opportunities. They want to work. They want to better themselves. They want to feel valued,” added Dale.
Youth Action NI Young Men’s Development Worker, Connor McGilloway, explained how the film came about.
“In the Positive Solutions Programme Youth Action NI has been made aware of the pressures that young people face when trying to find employment and overcome different issues in their life,” said Connor.
“We wanted to make a film that helps the wider community understand the inequalities that young people face, and in particular focus on the unique pressures of being a young man in today’s society. We also wanted to highlight how young men can make a positive contribution to their communities and give them the opportunity to have their voices heard by decision makers and politicians.”
The Positive Solutions Programme is supported by The Big Lottery Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs Anti-Sectarianism Fund and Derry City and Strabane District Council Good Relations Fund. The project has also been supported by the Department for Social Development.