Number of young people on benefits calls for urgent action, warns REC
Following recent reports on the number of young people claiming unemployment benefit, the REC has emphasised the need for the business community to work with Government and educationalists to help build better bridges into the world of work.
This is one of the core messages from the REC's Youth Employment Taskforce which published a series of practical recommendations earlier in the year and is chaired by Baroness Margaret Prosser, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
According to research conducted by the Prince’s Trust and RBS, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming unemployment benefit for more than 12 months is four times higher than that before the recession. A total of 25,800 young people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in 2010 compared to 5,840 in 2008.
The rapid increase has left the UK with a much higher youth jobless rate than many other European countries, including Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands.
Commenting on the issue, Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of Policy and Professional Services, said:
“Following the economic turmoil of recent years we are faced with a major challenge - ensuring that we breathe some life into the future job prospects of the next generation of workers. This is a shared responsibility between employers, recruiters, welfare providers, Trade Unions and educationalists.
“Building better bridges between benefits and the world of work means dismantling the Catch 22 situation that young job seekers with little or no work experience fall into."
Hadley added: “The jobs market remains extremely competitive and a range of measures are needed to help young job-seekers. These include enhancing the scope and recognition of apprenticeship schemes, a radical revamp of the careers services, stimulating demand for new staff and raising awareness of the changing employment landscape.
“Recruitment professionals have a big role to play in this debate. Through their daily contact with young-job seekers and employers they have a unique insight into some of the current barriers and into the skills, attitude and support that is needed to make the breakthrough. “
The REC’s Youth Employment Taskforce produced its 'Avoiding a Lost Generation report' earlier in the year. This included practical recommendations to Government on upskilling young jobseekers.