In September 2011 The Commission on Youth Unemployment was set up by ACEVO (the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) in response to escalating concerns amongst voluntary sector leaders about youth unemployment.
The report aims to answer the question ‘Can anything be done?’ since nearly 1.5 million young people aged, over 1 in 5, are currently not in education, employment or training – and that ‘a quarter of a million have been unemployed for over a year’. It is understood that, if these figures continue, the costs of long-term youth unemployment will be ‘a crisis we cannot afford.’ According to the paper, at current rates in 2012 youth unemployment will cost the exchequer £4.8billion.
After six months of consultation with people from the voluntary, private and public sectors as well as with young people, the Commission, which has been chaired by David Milliband, concludes that ‘young people, government, communities and employers need to up their game.’ Primary findings are as follows:
- AVECO identified 600 local unemployment ‘hotspots’ across 152 local authority areas
- Employment zones should be created with all local groups coming together to pool their resources, including local councils
- A new mentoring scheme should be established for young people, whereby under-25s who have been in work for a year mentor others to help them gain employment
David Milliband states: ‘Britain faces a youth unemployment emergency…Government has set the right goal – abolishing long-term youth unemployment – but we will need big change if we are to achieve it,’
So does the report really provide the answers for the ‘big change’ needed to combat youth unemployment?
Cause4 is aware of a number of exceptional youth support charities such as Catch22 and TAG whose expertise should be celebrated and drawn upon to help move matters forward. However, this cannot be done without increased income, support and resource to build the right partnerships.
We therefore call upon government, philanthropists, trust and foundations, corporate companies and the general public to come together to tackle these issues. And by ‘tacking these issues’ we mean much more than talk. We need clear action underpinned by clear, time-constrained and costed operational plans.
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