Touchstone Extras - Generation Lost: Youth unemployment and the youth labour market

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Touchstone Next Generation pamphletDownload pamphlet [PDF]

The experience of unemployment can be particularly damaging for young people, as evidence shows that those who experience prolonged worklessness when they are young are likely to suffer lifelong effects on both earnings and employment prospects. For this reason tackling youth unemployment needs to be a policy imperative.

This pamphlet proposes both short and long-term measures the government can introduce to reduce youth unemployment. Ministers should:

  • Introduce labour market programmes that evidence proves will work and which prioritise supporting young people into better quality jobs with good prospects. This should include a job guarantee scheme along the lines of the Future Jobs Fund, scrapped by the government.
  • Ensure that the support provided to young people is adequate to support the estimated 4.5 million young people who will start a JSA claim over the next three years (rather than only funding support to one in 10 as is currently the case) as well as the large numbers of young people who are neither in work or education but are not claiming unemployment benefit.
  • Strengthen the regulation of apprenticeships and develop a universal quality mark for apprenticeships.
  • Establish a government goal that by 2020 the UK's young people should be as well qualified for jobs as those in any developed country. Achieving this would require a fresh look at how further and higher educational systems in the UK are combined with employment, and how access to ongoing educational opportunities could be expanded further.
  • Introduce a new youth credit, which would integrate all financial support available for young people into one payment, building on the strongest elements of both JSA and the educational maintenance allowance (EMA), again abolished by this government.
  • Develop a new youth employment and skills service that would bring together the job-related support provided through Jobcentre Plus with the careers service for those aged under 25. The role of the new service would not be to get people to take any job at all, but to encourage and support all young people to undertake and progress in either/or both learning and work.
  • Support employers so they can play a more proactive role by structuring employment patterns to enable young people to combine learning and work and so firms can become better at offering opportunities which combine employment with education.
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