The Government has been urged to ACT NOW to avoid a record number of young people ending up out of education, employment or training from October.
Youth employment experts estimate that 1,000 extra employment, training or education opportunities are needed each day to bring the number of young people not in education employment or training back to pre-crisis levels by October 2021.
Young people are being worst hit by the crisis in the jobs market and they will continue to struggle as the furlough scheme draws to a close, redundancies rise and competition for jobs increases. The most recent labour market statistics show that youth unemployment is likely to follow the trends of previous recessions, meaning the number of young people not working or in education could increase by 50%, reaching a total of 1.1 million. To bring the figure to pre-crisis levels by October 2021, government must drive the creation of 1000 opportunities every day.
The Youth Employment Group (YEG) brings together over 150 key leaders and experts in the youth employment sector to help drive the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The YEG has shared recommendations from its working groups with government, calling for clear objectives to monitor progress in supporting young people during the economic crisis and beyond.
The Co-Chairs of the Youth Employment Group commented: “There is much to welcome in recent announcements targeted at young people, such as the launch of the Kickstart Scheme. But these alone will not provide enough opportunities to return the number of young people out of work or education to pre-crisis levels.
“Crucially, without clear cross-government objectives and measurement, it will be impossible to know whether the government’s initiatives are having their intended impact. And, as the government prepares its next Budget and Spending Review, it is clear that young people will need further funding for education, employment and training to face the scale of this crisis.”
Samantha Windett (Director of Policy, Impetus), Tony Wilson (Director, Institute for Employment Studies), Richard Rigby (Head of Policy and Public Affairs, The Prince’s Trust), Laura-Jane Rawlings (Chief Executive Officer, Youth Employment UK), Anna Smee (Chief Executive Officer, Youth Futures Foundation).
The YEG notes that:
- Young people are always the worst hit group within the jobs market in a recession. Young people are significantly more likely to be working in the sectors most affected by the pandemic. According to the most recent labour market data from the Office for National Statistics, nearly one in seven 18 to 24 year olds are now in the benefit count.
- The government has taken steps to respond to this. Through the creation of the Kickstart Scheme, Youth Hubs, additional funding for apprenticeships, traineeships and sector-based work academies, government has provided significant funding in response to the youth unemployment crisis. However, these alone will not be enough to ensure the number of young people who are NEET returns to the pre-crisis level.
- It’s currently unclear how Government will monitor progress and evaluate success. In the YEG paper released today, ‘Securing a place for young people in the nation’s economic recovery’, the recommendations call for clear objectives to be set to monitor progress in supporting young people during the economic crisis and beyond, including:
- The seasonally adjusted 18-24 ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) rate (using the Labour Force Survey measure) should return to below pre-pandemic level in every nation of the UK by October 2021. The YEG estimates this will equate to 1,000 extra opportunities for young people per day.
- Nobody aged 18-24 should spend more than six months unemployed before accessing a meaningful education or employment opportunity.
This paper also contains recommendations to help the government, the YEG and all other youth employment stakeholders achieve such objectives together. These recommendations cover a broad range of areas including:
- Targeting support at young people who face disadvantage or discrimination to ensure they don’t fall through the net and become long term unemployed
- Coordinating Government programmes so young people and employers can easily identify and access the most appropriate support to suit their needs
- Ensuring all young people have access to the internet
- Increased funding and advice for young entrepreneurs