Practical Solutions to UK Youth Unemployment report

We have today published our first major report, “Practical Solutions to UK Youth Unemployment“. The full report, including analysis and Case Studies, can be found on the Our Publications section of our website.

This report draws on months and years of research and makes four low-cost, evidence-based proposals to the Government, local authorities and the public sector, backed by a series of case studies. We will be speaking about our proposals in detail to MPs at the launch of Youth Employment UK’s #YouthFriendlyMP campaign in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 9th July.

Our proposals are:

Proposal 1: Expanding the use of public sector procurement to create jobs for young people

We believe that many more public sector procurement contracts should include clauses which ensure that contractors are encouraged (not required) to employ more young people, and that the contractor will be accountable for this to the public authority with which they are contracting. This could cover apprenticeships or traineeships as well as graduate schemes and permanent jobs.

A single Government minister should be clearly accountable for rolling this out across local and national government and the public sector generally. The wording of these provisions in procurement contracts and any accountability mechanisms should be decided by the relevant public sector body which is undertaking the procurement process.

Proposal 2: Backing a national ‘kitemark’ to recognise “youth friendly” employers

We recommend that the UK Government should back a national ‘kitemark’ to recognise all organisations which commit to offering young people a job, apprenticeship or traineeship; or who offer them other opportunities such as work experience/internships, mentoring or speaking in schools. This kitemark should be free to apply for; should recognise and reward good practice where it exists; and should promote the provision of additional opportunities for young people, both within the organisation and to their suppliers, contractors etc.

The easiest way to do this would be to give full backing to the “Youth Friendly Badge” kitemark, set up by the not-for-profit Youth Employment UK campaign. The Badge has already received extensive backing from businesses, local authorities and MPs.

Proposal 3: Creating a cross-government youth employment unit or agency in the UK Government, headed by a Minister for Youth Employment

We propose the creation of a cross-departmental unit or agency on youth unemployment in the UK Government, headed by a ‘Minister for Youth Employment’. This could be a new ministerial post, like the Minister for Youth Employment position which existed until recently in Scotland, or it could be added to an existing Minister’s portfolio, like the UK Government’s Minister for Cities role.

The Minister and their unit/agency should both have ultimate cross-departmental responsibility for co-ordinating the Government’s policies on youth unemployment and should have all appropriate staff, funding and powers to discharge their duties effectively. This should include establishing mechanisms to properly consult young people on policies relating to youth unemployment.

Proposal 4: Encouraging the creation of more local partnerships – including representation for young people – to co-ordinate the fight against youth unemployment in local areas

We call on the UK Government, MPs and local councils to encourage the creation of more local youth employment partnerships to co-ordinate efforts to tackle youth unemployment in local communities. These partnerships should include local councils, MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Jobcentre Plus branches, employers, educational institutions and voluntary sector organisations. These partnerships should also include representation for young people and local media outlets, and should be offered some funding or have powers developed to them from the Government if appropriate.

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