Schemes aimed at helping young people find work are being hit by “continued meddling” from governments, leading to a fall in help for the unemployed, according to a new report.
Local government leaders said almost 50,000 fewer young people were benefiting from national job schemes than three years ago, even though youth unemployment remained “stubbornly high” at almost a million.
A report by the Local Government Association said there had been an 8 per cent fall in the number of young people in England starting one of the 35 job schemes last year.
Meddling by consecutive governments had a “negative impact” on the schemes, warned the association, adding that the current system to tackle youth unemployment was not working because it was “overly complicated”, covering 13 different age ranges at a cost of £15bn a year.
The complexity of schemes and the way the Government published statistics made it impossible to view how effective they are, said the LGA.
Schemes run by councils were more successful, according to the report.
David Simmonds, who chairs the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “With young people returning to school in a few weeks now having to stay in education or training until they are 17, it’s even more important that we are offering them meaningful training and employment schemes that will provide the very best opportunities for them to get into the local jobs market.
“It’s clear that nationally-driven attempts to tackle youth unemployment aren’t working. While there are a number of good initiatives, Government has sidelined councils and incentivised a series of services like schools, colleges and third sector providers to work in isolation of each other, with no clarity on who is responsible for leading the offer to young people on the ground.
“We know the level of success that local organisations, such as councils, businesses and education providers, can achieve when working together, but this is being hampered by successive centrally-driven Government approaches. This has long been a major frustration for councils, who are in the unique position of knowing the young people in their area and the skills and training required by the local jobs market.
“We would now urge Government to give local authorities and their partners the powers to ‘own the problem’ and become the link between young people and local employers.”