Is youth unemployment still a problem in 2018?
Finding your first job is hard.
You’re young, shy and often don’t have the right experience to get the role you want. And if there's a lack of opportunities in the first place, it’s even harder. Youth unemployment is starting to decrease after the rise during the 2005 recession, but we still have 492,000 unemployed 16-24-year-olds in the UK today. This is bad news for these young people who are likely to suffer from lower wages, further unemployment and poorer health in the future – and it’s bad news for the UK as a whole too. The cost of youth unemployment over the next decade is estimated at £28 billion, and the Treasury is missing out on £440 million in taxes every year.
The Government invested £7 billion in the 17/18 financial year to increase opportunities for young people, and it has had an impact. Youth unemployment has fallen by almost 11% over the past 12 months, but more needs to be done to give young people the support and guidance they need.
What’s the solution?
We spoke to Laura-Jane Rawlings, the founder and CEO of Youth Employment UK, who said it’s all about empowering young people to shape their own future. ‘Instead of politicians making all the choices for young people without consultation, we need to get them involved in the process and see what they want – and that’s where we come in.' Laura-Jane and Youth Employment UK give their young ambassadors a voice, connect them with parliament, employers and training providers, and help provide meaningful support to young people. They also work with employers. ‘Most businesses aren’t young-people ready, which will cost them in the long run. Who will drive innovation? Who will replace their retiring staff? Who will become the future leaders of their business?’ Employers need to learn about young people and cater to the next generation of employees.
Another part of the solution is giving young people the opportunity to get relevant work experience. This could be through an entry-level job or through vocational training – like apprenticeships.
With an apprenticeship, young people can earn while they learn, so they gain valuable experience, learn new skills and get paid at the same time. Training an apprentice is good for businesses too, as they benefit from a boost in productivity, tailored training and paying lower wages.
Thanks to the levy, there’s much more employer interest in apprenticeships now – but there’s still so much more we can do to encourage young people into apprenticeships. Only 3% of 16-year olds go into apprenticeships after school, so we need to spread the word so young people can make an informed decision about their future. Hopefully, the Baker Clause will help this too.
We conducted a short survey on Twitter, and 63% of respondents said social media was the best place for young people to learn about career opportunities. Maybe employers and training providers should head online to engage with young people and advertise their opportunities. That’s exactly what we do here at OneFile. To learn all about careers, apprenticeships and training, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.