The Government has announced the launch of sector-based work academies aimed at getting more young people into work, as figures published today showed record levels of youth unemployment.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said that the academies, located across the UK, will offer a combination of work experience, training and a guaranteed job interview for up to 50,000 people over the next two years, with many places going to young people.
The news comes as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that youth unemployment had risen by 74,000 since 2010 to reach 991,000, the highest figure since records began in 1992.
The move has been welcomed by the CBI, which says that tackling unemployment should be a top government priority.
Chief policy director at the CBI, Katja Hall, said: “These work academies should help improve the employment chances of those who find it hardest to get a job, as long as they are targeted in areas which need it the most.
“Growth alone will not tackle underlying structural unemployment problems, especially in parts of the UK that need a more detailed plan to get people ready for work.”
Grayling has claimed that the state of the global economy was partly to blame for the current UK jobs slump: “It is clear that we are seeing the effect of the international economic crisis on the UK labour market.
“Our new Work Programme is now up and running, and offers people who have lost their jobs flexible, tailored support to get back into jobs and stay there.”
However, the TUC has argued that the high unemployment figures cannot be blamed simply on Eurozone troubles.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “Now is certainly not the time to be young and looking for work. There is every chance that the Chancellor’s austerity measures will be responsible for pushing joblessness amongst those under the age of 24 into the seven-figure bracket.”