YMCA report warns against complacency on the issue of Youth Unemployment

4 March 2015

Youth Charity YMCA, has published the ‘Two Futures‘ report  which has encouraged that finance, resource and opportunities are directed towards those young people left without employment as a result of the recent economic crisis.

It argues that by doing so the next government would save “billions of pounds in public finance, as well as generating even more within the wider economy.” It also references evidence that suggests that acting to support young unemployed people would benefit both businesses and society as a whole because this “will also significantly reduce crime, support businesses suffering from severe skills shortages and boost our nation’s productivity.”

Furthermore, it provides  six reasons to believe that the government cannot wait and let economic recovery take its course, including that the issue of high youth unemployment predates the impact of the recession; that the national figures mask serious regional problems; and that people at high risk of becoming long-term not in employment, education and training (NEET) are in danger of being left behind as the economy recovers.

It also refers to the need to support businesses to match their needs to talent, giving the example of the construction sector. As the Chartered Institute of Business highlighted the need for 182,000 construction jobs to be filled by 2018 whilst just 7,280 young people completed construction apprenticeships in 2013.

Lastly, as reported in tesconnect, it states that the current framework is limiting opportunities for young people from hard-to-reach groups and that Ofsted is penalising training providers for investing time in individuals who are NEET or who may have huge potential but lower initial attainment levels. It says that “Young people often begin their training with us from a lower starting point and although they achieve great things, it is difficult to reflect their success using the current Ofsted framework, more emphasis should be placed on the context of training and the learner’s journey than on final grades.”

Alongside the report, YMCA published their manifesto, which outlines what they believe then next government should do to “help create, provide and improve pathways into employment for young people.” It calls for the expansion of full recovery of training costs to those aged 19 and older in certain sectors where it‘s not possible to employ younger apprentices; and the removal of the 16-hour rule for young people in full-time skills study programmes that improve their employability – amongst other things.

The full report is available to read here, and the manifesto can be viewed here.