Disadvantaged young people have been ‘overlooked’ in the government’s Plan for Jobs and more needs to be done to help them find work or access education or training, the prime minister has been told.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, the Youth Employment Group says the government should ensure there is an education place, apprenticeship or job offer available to all young people leaving school, college or university in order to avoid a youth unemployment crisis.
It says that one in eight young people are not in full-time work, education or training, and claims most of these are not looking for work due to health challenges, disability or caring responsibilities.
However, official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the percentage of all young people who were not in employment, education or training in April to June 2021 was estimated at 9.3%, which is a record low.
The letter says a three-stage approach is needed to “level-up” the economy for young people, including:
- ensuring that all young people leaving school and further or higher education this summer are offered an education place, apprenticeship or job
- investing in young people in the spending review this autumn, to prevent long-term youth unemployment – as has often been seen in the years following previous economic downturns
- taking a coordinated, cross-departmental approach to tackling both short- and long-term youth unemployment.
“We know that young people with multiple disadvantages and lower qualifications are much more likely to become long-term unemployed, threatening the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda,” the letter says.
“In the coming months, we need to maintain momentum on helping jobseekers and education leavers and do far more for young people from marginalised backgrounds and those furthest from the labour market. With at least half a million young people leaving full-time education this summer, we cannot afford to assume a youth employment recovery, as the situation for young people experiencing disadvantages remains precarious and uncertain.”
The letter was signed by 89 employment experts from across the private and public sectors including the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the Prince’s Trust, the Institute for Employment Studies and universities and local councils.
Earlier this month the CIPD launched a campaign that encouraged employers to create one million job, internship, work experience or apprenticeship opportunities for young people, after finding 43% of 18- to 30-year-olds felt their job prospects had been harmed by the pandemic.
Many young people have chosen to go to university because of job uncertainty.