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Youth unemployment is still a problem

Rosi Prescott launching YMCA manifesto - for pressThe recent recovery of the UK’s economy has brought with it positive news surrounding youth unemployment, with the latest figures showing that the number of 16-24 year olds not currently in education, development or training, has reduced over the past year.

However, with the country appearing to have regained some economic stability, and employment on the up, there is a risk that authorities could become complacent. Despite these promising statistics, the danger now is that the new government will turn its back on those still struggling to find work under the false pretence that the job is done.

It is vital that the new government focuses on assisting young people who are still suffering from the effects of the last recession. Helping youngsters access more training opportunities and apprenticeships will enable them to make informed decisions about their career path and, in theory, gain employment faster and more successfully. In order to bring about change, recommendations need to be made, pinpointing exactly what needs to be done and how.

The fact of the matter is, we cannot simply sit and wait for the economic recovery to take its course. We must work to actively do more to reduce youth unemployment across the country, and this is exactly what we are trying to achieve at Central YMCA.

In order to encourage the next government to pay these issues the attention they deserve, we have set them a challenge; to tackle the barriers currently hampering efforts to reduce youth unemployment. Our Pathways to Employment Manifesto 2015 calls for a number of changes to current practices, as we believe the current system is limiting opportunities for young people.

In a nutshell, our manifesto is made up of eight key recommendations and is aimed at schools, businesses and training providers, all of whom have a responsibility to improve youth unemployment in the UK:

  • Prompt conclusion of and reporting on Trailblazer pilot phases, to ensure related funding models provide greater flexibility.
  • Removal of the 16-hour rule for young people in full-time skills study programmes.
  • Full cost recovery for training to those aged 19 and older in certain sectors where it‘s not possible to employ younger apprentices such as healthcare or personal training.
  • Changes to how Ofsted grades training providers that run programmes for hard-to-reach groups. More emphasis should be placed on the context of training and the learner’s journey than on final grades.
  • Greater workplace engagement between schools and local businesses.
  • A review of careers guidance policy in schools to better help young people make crucial decisions about their futures.
  • An end to the negative impact on housing benefits which is causing many young people to abandon their training.
  • To improve the service of Jobcentre Plus in getting young people into work and to increase partnerships with training providers and local businesses.

We have also recently published our Two Futures Report, which illustrates the two possible outcomes facing youth unemployment; whether we succeed or fail in turning things around. The implications of the actions we take now will remain with us for a lifetime.

Turning the page on youth unemployment will not only lead to the country saving billions of pounds in public finance, but will also help with the wider economy, significantly reduce crime, support businesses suffering from severe skills shortages, and boost our nation’s productivity.

We believe by properly tackling these issues at the root, the new government will be able to almost completely eradicate youth unemployment in the UK. We owe it to our younger generations to learn from the mistakes of the past and create a future that offers equal employment opportunities to all.

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Elke Loeffler
Elke Loeffler
9 years ago

It’s important to highlight the important role of services for young people to reduce number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (Neet) and to learn from good practice such as the transformation of Services for Young People (SYP) at Surrey County Council. From 2009-2012, SYP of Surrey County Council underwent a transformation from delivering services to young people to commissioning outcomes for young people, whilst reducing its budget by £4.5m or 25%. Since then, the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (Neet) in Surrey has more than halved, standing at 429 at the end of March 2014, with national data showing that Surrey had the joint lowest Neet proportion in England between November 2013 and January 2014. For more information check the case study written by Chris Tisdall in our Good Practice Hub http://www.govint.org/good-practice/case-studies/the-transformation-of-services-for-young-people-in-surrey-county-council/

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