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Published on October 12th, 2011 | by Lorna Gledhill
Image © [caption id="attachment_4145" align="alignleft" width="241" caption="Job Centre (c) jovike"]Job Centre[/caption] Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics reveal that the unemployment rate of 16-24 year-olds has reached 21.3%. This growth runs parallel to a national increase of 8.1%, leaving the total number of UK unemployed at 2.57 million. In real terms, there were 991,000 16-24 year olds out of work in the last quarter, including 205,000 16-17 year-olds out of work and education. The coalition managed to narrowly avoid predictions that the number of young people out of work would exceed 1 million, but this is little consolation. According to a report in The Independent, when the inactivity and jobless rates of young people are combined, it shows that half of 16-24 year olds are unemployed. In an attempt to soften the blow felt by the report, the government issued a press release last night, introducing Work Academies. In conjunction with the Work Programme and the Work Experience Scheme, the government claims that the new Work Academies will be able to support up to 150,000 young people over the next few months and 250,000 over the following two years. These sector-based academies aim to offer training in industries such as construction, hospitality and logistics, and guarantee a job interview at the end of the course. However, as the number of 16-17 year-olds neither in education nor employment rises, is the country experiencing disaffection with the educational system in general? According to the research used to justify scrapping EMA, only 10% of EMA recipients would not complete their courses if their financial assistance were to be withdrawn. Unfortunately, this report only questioned 838 claimants, a tiny fraction of the total recipients of the allowance; hardly a national sample. Today’s PMQs saw David Cameron blame the previous government’s education system for the increase in unemployment, claiming that a generation of unqualified young people are now unable to secure work. However, Stephen Timms, the shadow employment secretary, claims that recent anecdotal reports suggest that post-16 participation in education fell again this September. With university fees looming at £9,000, EMA cut and an unsympathetic job market, he wonders whether young people are beginning to question the value of further education. As our education system seems to be focused on value for money, it is no wonder that some young people are feeling a little short-changed. Youth unemployment can have an incredibly damaging impact in later life. Links have been made between mental health issues and long-term joblessness, alongside the inevitable ‘de-skilling’ that affects those that are out of work. These ‘scars for life’ are what Ed Miliband believes have begun to define a generation of unemployment. In a Guardian article in January, David Blanchflower made the following prediction: “Youth unemployment is inevitably going to reach a million over the next few months. Scrapping the Future Jobs Fund and the EMA were major policy mistakes that the government is likely to regret.” It seems that policies created by the current coalition are set to further exacerbate, not alleviate, the damaging problem of youth unemployment.

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‘Scars for life’: Youth unemployment hits a 17-year high

Job Centre

Job Centre (c) jovike

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics reveal that the unemployment rate of 16-24 year-olds has reached 21.3%. This growth runs parallel to a national increase of 8.1%, leaving the total number of UK unemployed at 2.57 million. In real terms, there were 991,000 16-24 year olds out of work in the last quarter, including 205,000 16-17 year-olds out of work and education. The coalition managed to narrowly avoid predictions that the number of young people out of work would exceed 1 million, but this is little consolation. According to a report in The Independent, when the inactivity and jobless rates of young people are combined, it shows that half of 16-24 year olds are unemployed.

In an attempt to soften the blow felt by the report, the government issued a press release last night, introducing Work Academies. In conjunction with the Work Programme and the Work Experience Scheme, the government claims that the new Work Academies will be able to support up to 150,000 young people over the next few months and 250,000 over the following two years. These sector-based academies aim to offer training in industries such as construction, hospitality and logistics, and guarantee a job interview at the end of the course.

However, as the number of 16-17 year-olds neither in education nor employment rises, is the country experiencing disaffection with the educational system in general? According to the research used to justify scrapping EMA, only 10% of EMA recipients would not complete their courses if their financial assistance were to be withdrawn. Unfortunately, this report only questioned 838 claimants, a tiny fraction of the total recipients of the allowance; hardly a national sample.

Today’s PMQs saw David Cameron blame the previous government’s education system for the increase in unemployment, claiming that a generation of unqualified young people are now unable to secure work. However, Stephen Timms, the shadow employment secretary, claims that recent anecdotal reports suggest that post-16 participation in education fell again this September. With university fees looming at £9,000, EMA cut and an unsympathetic job market, he wonders whether young people are beginning to question the value of further education. As our education system seems to be focused on value for money, it is no wonder that some young people are feeling a little short-changed.

Youth unemployment can have an incredibly damaging impact in later life. Links have been made between mental health issues and long-term joblessness, alongside the inevitable ‘de-skilling’ that affects those that are out of work. These ‘scars for life’ are what Ed Miliband believes have begun to define a generation of unemployment. In a Guardian article in January, David Blanchflower made the following prediction: “Youth unemployment is inevitably going to reach a million over the next few months. Scrapping the Future Jobs Fund and the EMA were major policy mistakes that the government is likely to regret.” It seems that policies created by the current coalition are set to further exacerbate, not alleviate, the damaging problem of youth unemployment.

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Ben says:

Youth unemployment is a scandal at the moment, and is already having terrible consequences. BBC ran a damning story in 2010 that said "48% of unemployed respondents [aged 16-to-25] claim that their lack of job has led to problems like panic attacks, self harm and self loathing".

Youth Fight for Jobs (a campaigning organisation, currently taking part in a 300-mile Jarrow to London "March for Jobs") has called an all-Wales Day of Action to be held in Swansea, at 2pm in Castle Gardens this Saturday 15th October.

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