A new route to work for young people5 May 2015
Latest figures show that youth unemployment is falling, but is still too high. Across the UK, almost ¾ of a million young people are registered as unemployed, while the proportion of young people not claiming Job Seekers Allowance – therefore not receiving official help with job search – has risen by over 30 percentage points since October 2012. This could be as a result of the new JSA sanctions regime.
The evidence is clear and powerful. Being out of learning and work for a sustained period while young, has negative and long term consequences upon lifetime earnings, future periods of unemployment, housing and homelessness, mental and physical health, and much more. Inevitably, there are wider consequences for our economy, with a lack of appropriate pathways for young people contributing to the growing national shortage of technician level jobs and workers.
So what might the incoming government to do tackle this challenge and improve learning and earning opportunities for young people? Our latest policy solutions document Ten Policies for Ten People suggests a number of practical, high-impact but cost-neutral changes that could be made in the first 100 days of a new Government.
Firstly, we suggest that the government consider the case for creating a new Youth Allowance for 18-24 year olds, requiring accredited learning to Level 3 alongside job search and work. The Youth Allowance would replace JSA, which has a focus on encouraging claimants into a job as quickly as possible, rather than investing in the skills and experience needed to embark on a successful career.
Secondly, the government should focus on building Traineeships as a gold standard route for those unable to immediately access Apprenticeships. In the future, it is anticipated that there will be a greater focus on Level 3 Apprenticeships as the baseline standard. Our proposal would mitigate the unintended consequence of lifting the ladder out of the reach of many young people.
Thirdly, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities should be supported to provide more integrated services for young people. For example, through City Deals a number of areas have already committed to ensuring that all young people have access to a training place or a job with training.
Our proposals can make a real difference quickly to young people’s lives and opportunities. Changes that will build a stronger economy, a fairer society and enable many more young people to fulfil their potential.