Is The Youth Contract Working?

 In News


Hands up who’s heard of The Youth Contract? The project, worth almost £1billion, was launched by the UK’s coalition government in April 2012. Its aim: help stem the youth unemployment crisis in the UK. It was hoped to be, in the words of Nick Clegg, “a major moment for Britain’s unemployed young people”.

On the face of it, the premise of the contract seems sound: encourage employers to take on more young people. The key component of the scheme offers a £2,275 wage incentive to employers who give a job to an 18-24 year old who has been out of work for more than six months.

One of the key problems is that the scheme hasn’t been well publicised: many people just don’t know it exists. A survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found that one third of employers were unaware of the scheme and, even more worryingly, 36% had no plans to use it. As well as a lack of exposure, the information provided to workers and employers appears to be inadequate, as Lottie Dexter of Million Jobs says“Speaking at length with youth workers and employers reveals that – if they have heard of the scheme at all – they find it fuzzy, confusing and difficult to grasp.”

Chris Anokobea, a Work Programme Employment Advisor, highlights that there is too much reliance on employers knowing about the Youth Contract in order to generate opportunities. There isn’t much you can do as a jobseeker other than to show employers the limited information about The Youth Contact.


While we don’t yet have significant data on how The Youth Contract is performing, a better provision of information would surely bolster its impact. Or perhaps, as Dexter argues, we need a stronger approach:  tax cuts and National Insurance breaks for companies willing to hire young people; an alternative which would be clear cut and much easier for firms to get on board with.

Have you had any experience with The Youth Contract? Get in touch and let us know your thoughts.


Chris Anokobea 01/05/13 “Clegg’s Youth Contract is a year old. Is it working?”:

Department for Work & Pensions “The Youth Contact Online”:

Lottie Dexter 28/05/13 “The Independent View: Government must do more on youth unemployment”:

Spencer Thompson 20/02/13 “Good news on the jobs front, but why is the Youth Contract not working?”:


Article written by Annie Knapman. Annie is our newest online collaborator and will be publishing every Wednesday. Follow her on @annieknapman

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