The YMCA has laid out a challenge for the next government to tackle the barriers currently hampering efforts to reduce youth unemployment.
Central YMCA, which supports young people into work through its national YMCA Training operation, has today launched a roadmap of eight key recommendations designed to tackle youth unemployment, along with research highlighting the financial prize of getting it right.
Its Pathways Into Employment Manifesto 2015 asks for a number of changes to current practices, including a full review of the ways in which Ofsted grades training providers. YMCA believes that the current method is limiting opportunities for young people from hard-to-reach groups and penalising training providers for investing time in individuals who may have huge potential but lower initial attainment levels.
The charity is calling for the removal of the current 16-hour rule for young people in full-time skills study programmes. It also believes there should be an expansion of the scheme to allow the full recovery of training costs to those aged 19 and older in certain sectors where it‘s not always possible to employ younger apprentices, such as healthcare.
To support its manifesto, YMCA has also published research in its report “Two Futures – The Lost or Found Generation”, assessing the current situation of young people in the UK who are still feeling the effects of the 2008 recession.
Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, says: “As economic recovery leads to a natural reduction in unemployment there is a danger that, whichever government comes into power at the next election, they will think it’s “job done” when it comes to youth unemployment.
“This cannot be allowed to happen. The impact of sustained unemployment for young people will last for the rest of their lives. Even after they re-enter the workforce, young people who have had significant periods of unemployment are at increased risk of becoming unemployed again and, research shows, earn less on average than their peers who have unbroken education and employment histories.
“Efforts need to be made immediately to ensure rates of youth unemployment are reduced and that the opportunities created by economic recovery are also enjoyed by those who have been worst affected by the recession.”
Central YMCA’s report also sets out the prize for getting policies on youth unemployment right.
“Working to reduce current levels of youth unemployment by 10% would generate billions of pounds in savings to the public purse, as well as injecting billions more into regional economies,” continues Prescott. “Data produced for the Audit Commission and further studies by The Prince’s Trust, indicate that this 10% reduction would benefit the economy by £15 billion over the lifetimes of these young people as well as reducing youth crime and increasing economic productivity.”