“LOOKS and Smiles” is a film about 1980s unemployment in Sheffield.

With a screenplay by Barry Hines (from his novel) the film focuses on school leaver Mick trying to bag his first job in Thatcher’s Britain.

Job opportunities are few as life revolves around signing on, hunting for an apprenticeship or being referred to some tin-pot Mickey Mouse Youth creation scheme.

Thirty eight years later little has changed. The Mickey Mouse club are still running the job schemes and the shadow of youth unemployment, albeit more disguised these days, is rapidly on the rise.

If one reads through the decades old literature about youth employment schemes, one becomes acutely aware that governments are quite happy to keep youth unemployment at levels just high enough to keep the increasing droves of civil servants and other hangers-on to administer such bodies in a job.

Billions spent on youth training schemes and work for your dole programmes with little to show for it.

And despite all the hype about youth unemployment coming down we still read reports like the one where more than 1,000 youngsters on Teesside applied for Sirius Minerals’ apprenticeship scheme, offering just ten places.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar