Tough times for young people seeking work

With A level results due this week, and news that several HE institutions are offering very limited or no clearing places, more young people will be setting out on the hunt for employment.

However, recent research reports are painting a fairly bleak picture of the challenges facing young people who are looking for work.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of long-term unemployed young people rose by 40 per cent in the last year. The figures show that 17 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds are unemployed, with 72,000 having been out of work for more than two years.

At the same time, the TUC has been analysing Jobseeker’s Allowance claims by young people across UK local authorities. Unsurprisingly, the number claiming has risen in 142 local authorities. The TUC’s report shows that in some local authorities there has been a 158 per cent increase in the number of 18- to 24-year-old claimants.

The prospect of finding employment is an even bigger challenge for young people from jobless families. Research from the Prince’s Trust studied over 2,000 16- to 24-year-olds and found that over 70 per cent of those from workless homes had struggled to find a job.

So what is on the horizon to address the worrying figures highlighted by these reports and offer a more positive outlook for young people?

Later this week, the DWP and the Student Room will be launching the 21 day Jobs Challenge. This new initiative, planned to coincide with exam results time, will provide tips, advice and activities to help students with job seeking. It aims to help young people to develop a positive approach to job seeking.

The government has also announced that it intends to create 50,000 new Apprenticeships next year.

In order to be successful, these and any other initiatives must be supported by quality, impartial careers education, information, advice and guidance. Young people need to develop a clear idea of career opportunities as well as which learning and development options are suited to different career paths. By equipping young people with this knowledge and helping them to develop good career planning and management skills, they can be helped to achieve a better position in these difficult times.

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