Youth Unemployment on the Rise Again

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“For young people desperate to get their first job, these are desperate times. Getting the work experience they need to get a start in life is hard to find.” – Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union.

The latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that contrary to an overall downward trend in unemployment, youth unemployment is on the rise once again. Overall the number of  unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds has risen by 15,000 to 973,000. In contrast overall unemployment fell by, the admittedly nominal figure of 4,000. Although  changes on either side have been far from dramatic the trend remains worrying – the continuing disproportionality with which unemployment affects youth people is evident to all – and if it remains unchecked will have far reaching consequences for the future. For instance, Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, has warned that “many young people are expecting nothing but a life on benefits”.

If we wish to reverse this troubling trend and get young people enthused about their future prospects, it is necessary that we first re-evaluate our approach to youth job creation. Such systems as are already in place are evidently under-performing, be it due to poor methodology,  weak support structures or a combination of both. An urgent analysis therefore  needs to be undertaken to see how we can remedy their failings and quickly establish an exemplary model of youth job creation.

This vision will not be brought to pass by groups acting in isolation – rather it requires a concerted collective effort made by key stakeholders – youth, policy makers, business, employability training providers and NGOs. Nobody has all the answers and neither is there a simple “one size fits all” solution to this epoch defining question.

Moreover, this is a particularly pivotal time for young people seeking to enter the workforce. As John Salt, website director for Totaljobs.com, says “ this is one of the most important months for the employment market, as tens of thousands of school, college and university leavers enter the jobs market for the first time”. What better time to stage a summit that specifically focuses on Youth Job Creation?

For more information on the International Youth Job Creation Summit please visit http://peacechild.org/jobsummit/

Resources

SHANE CROUCHER (2013) UK Youth Unemployment: Finding a Lost Generation http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/499067/20130814/uk-youth-unemployment-million-jobs-work-foundation.htm

Hugh Pym (2013)UK unemployment falls by 4,000 to 2.51 million  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23692996

HEATHER SAUL (2013) Unemployment rate holds steady as claimants total drops http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/unemployment-rate-holds-steady-as-claimants-total-drops-8760643.html

Benjamin Russell (2013) Britain bouncing back as number of people in jobs reaches 4-year highhttp://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/421991/Britain-bouncing-back-as-number-of-people-in-jobs-reaches-4-year-high

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