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Youth Unemployment and the Youth Contract

The Work and Pensions Select Committe has published its latest report into youth unemployment and the youth contract.

Committee Chair, Dame Anne Begg, said, "The Youth Contract is welcome but on its own it will not be enough to address the current unacceptably high level of youth unemployment. Young people need effective support from Government to counteract the disadvantage they have long suffered in the labour market but they also need a return to economic growth and a substantial increase in the number of new jobs."  She further stated that some of the measures in the Youth Contract have been shown to be effective but voiced concern that there is a real risk that the Government will fall short of its "more eye-catching targets" particularly in regard to wage incentives. 

The Committee highlighted the concerns of many providers of the recent Youth Contract for 16-17 year old NEETs.  The eligibility is restricted to those with no GCSEs at grades A*–C. This risks excluding many disadvantaged NEETs, which has already been highlighted by many commentators.  There is also a concern that the £2,200 funding is insufficient to provide effective support for the most disadvantaged NEETs.

While the wage incentive was seen as a positive move it was felt to be ambitious and didn't actually provide any guarantee of a job placement.  The Committee also felt that work experience needed to be better targeted and that more attention to the quality of the placements was needed.  Comment was also made around the proliferation of schemes that are now available for young people.

"There is no shortage of youth employment services but they are poorly coordinated and neither employers nor young people know where to go to find quick and useful information. The Government needs to streamline delivery of employment, training and skills opportunities for young people."

Click here for more information and to access the report.

19 September 2012


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