‘Urgent action’ plea over jobless

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The Government’s attempts to tackle the UK’s youth unemployment “crisis” has failed, leaving a generation of young people facing a bleak future, a new report has warned.

A study by the Work Foundation found that despite the economic recovery, unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds was over 25% in many cities.

The average is almost one in five across the country, but the problem is so “endemic” that even those cities with the lowest rates of around 13% are still a third higher than the national average in Germany (8.6%) and well above cities such as Hamburg (5%), said the research group.

A number of youth unemployment “blackspots” were identified with jobless rates above 25%, including Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Glasgow, Grimsby, Coventry, Bradford and Hull.

In other cities, the youth unemployment rate was 13% or lower, including Southampton, York, Reading, Cambridge and Aberdeen.

The Work Foundation said youngsters leaving school with only GCSEs were more than twice as likely to be unemployed as those with better qualifications.

The report called for action to improve apprenticeships, more work experience placements and batter careers advice.

Lizzie Crowley of the Work Foundation said: “The UK’s youth unemployment crisis continues to affect almost a million young people, even in the recovery.

“It is shocking that in some cities almost a third of young people are looking for work but are unable to find it.

“Urgent action is needed to ensure young people get the right support to either continue in school, further training or with getting a job.

“Central government’s top-down attempts to tackle the crisis have failed. Local government must now be tasked with setting up youth transition partnerships to bring together schools, colleges, third sector organisations and local businesses to develop tailored policy responses suitable for each city.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Supporting young people to get their foot in the door and have the skills they need for the future as the economy grows is a key part of our long-term economic plan.

“Already, the number of young people in jobs is going up, youth unemployment is dropping and the number of young jobseekers on benefits has been falling for the last 21 months. Our schemes have already offered around 200,000 opportunities to young people to try their hand in different industries, but there is always more to do. That’s why we’ve offered a further 100,000 placements to any young person who wants one.”