Commission calls for emergency action on youth employment

08 February 2012

Nuffield-funded research into young people's transitions from school to work has been influential in the ACEVO Commission on Youth Unemployment's conclusion that youth unemployment has reached emergency point. One in five young people are not in employment, education or training and a quarter of a million are unemployed for over a year. 

In its report, Youth unemployment: the crisis we cannot afford, the Commission shows that current levels of youth unemployment will cost the public purse at least £4.8 billion in 2012 and its effects will cost £2.9 billion a year in the future.

Transitions from school to work

Analysis of young people's labour market transitions is an essential component of the Commission's report. This work was was led by Richard Dorsett from NIESR and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The research team identified the different types of labour market transitions for young people in the five years after leaving school and explored which characteristics at age 16 can act as early predictors of an unsuccessful move from school to work. The findings are published as an Annex to the report. 

ACEVO Commission recommendations

The Commission, Chaired by David Miliband MP on behalf of ACEVO, the charity leaders body, makes practical recommendations for what can be done to make Government’s ambition of abolishing long-term youth unemployment achievable.

Recommendations include:

  • Ensuring more job opportunities are available to young people in 2012: by frontloading the Government’s ‘Youth Contract’ initiative and doubling the number of job subsidies available in 2012.
  • ‘First step’ - a part-time job guarantee for young people who have been on the work programme for a year without finding a job.
  • Targeting young people earlier: A new national programme, Job Ready, to work with teenagers to prevent them becoming NEET in the first place. Providing localised education-to-career support for the non-university bound who are fast becoming the forgotten 50%.
  • Youth Employment Zones: starting in the youth unemployment hotspots, local organisations should come together and pool resources to get young people into work, with Whitehall offering a turbo-boost in the form of extra freedom and flexibility in return for results.
  • A new mentoring scheme for young people, by young people: where under-25s who have been in work for a year mentor others on their path to employment.

Speaking on the report, David Milband MP said:

“Britain faces a youth unemployment emergency. This is a crisis we cannot afford. Government have set the right goal - abolishing long-term youth unemployment - but we will need big change if we are to achieve it.

“Young people, Government, communities and employers will all need to up their game if young people are to succeed in a radically changing jobs market. Our report sets out a practical routemap for how they can do precisely that. The crisis of youth unemployment can and must be tackled now. With action we can make a real difference across Britain.”