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ACEVO Report - Youth unemployment, the crisis we cannot afford

The United Kingdom has a structural youth unemployment problem. The current economic crisis in the UK is, for a large part, driven by low levels of demand for young people’s labour. However, even before the crisis began, somewhere between 7 to 9 percent of all young people were already heading for long-term unemployment. Current numbers show that over 1 in 5 of all young people in the UK are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Consequences of youth unemployment

Problems related to long-term unemployment for young people include lower earnings, more ill health later in life, more inequality between rich and poor, and more division between communities. The costs are also enormous. At the current rate, the costs of long-term youth unemployment to the government treasury over the next decade will be approximately 28 billion pounds. 

Method used to identify youth unemployment hotspots

In its report ‘Youth Unemployment: The Crisis We Cannot Afford’, the ACEVO Commission on Youth Employment wanted to find out if anything could be done to prevent long-term exclusion from the labour market for young people. To get answers, the commission spoke to hundreds of people from the private, voluntary and public sectors as well as to young people themselves. It identified youth unemployment hotspots in 152 local authority areas around the country, where the proportion of young people claiming unemployment benefit is twice the national average, and where it is estimated that at least 1 in 4 young people are NEET. 

Who is in charge of youth unemployment?

There is widespread concern about the problem of youth unemployment and a shared desire to act to address it. However the report notes that no one has been put in charge to deal with the problem. Young people need more job opportunities to become available, better preparation and motivation for work, and reform of the welfare state (including guaranteed back-to-work support). Those young people not heading for university need clear high-quality options for progression. On the basis of its findings, the commission recommends that: 

  • Stakeholders (young people, the private, voluntary and public sectors) rally behind one clear national and local goal: the abolition of long-term youth unemployment. All young people must be able to follow a journey from education to career.
  • Public money is directed towards a single pot. This will create belief among employers that there is a local focal point for activity, communities empowered to act, and young people are offered clear high quality options. 
  • Key organizations in the UK that have the responsibility, funding or interest in getting young people into work must come together and coordinate their efforts.
Download the full report from the ACEVO-website. 

For more information on ACEVO and other publications they realized, please visit the ACEVO-website