The House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry on ‘Employment opportunities for young people‘.
This inquiry is considering whether current provision and support for young people is sufficient to enable their full access to and participation in the labour market, and will identify ways of improving this support, with a particular focus on the transition from education to employment, the support offered to young people via Jobcentre Plus, and issues around progression and quality of work for young people. These areas are being considered under four main headings:
- To what extent does getting young people into work and supporting them in work require an approach distinct from that of other groups?
- How effective is Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools likely to be in enhancing young people’s career prospects?
- How can Jobcentre Plus services for young people be more effectively integrated with other local services, especially around education and skills?
- What is likely to be the impact of any forthcoming economic uncertainty on young people, and how should the Government best seek to protect them from this?
This inquiry is very timely, especially in light of the EU Referendum vote and the still high youth unemployment rate. The Found Generation therefore provided written evidence to this inquiry. Our written evidence was submitted on 5 September 2016, and was published on the Parliament website in October 2016 under reference EOP0054. It is also available on our website.
Our written evidence covered a number of areas but focused in particular on the many issues relating to Jobcentre Plus, how it can be improved to better help the unemployed young people who use it, and how greater provision can be made for young people who are not on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit and therefore do not use Jobcentre Plus. We also made a number of policy suggestions, for example proposing the expansion of successful schemes like Norwich for Jobs and the Ipswich MyGo youth employment centre to other parts of the UK.
This point about young people who do not use Jobcentre Plus is particularly important and is often overlooked. According to the monthly analysis of labour market statistics by the monthly analysis of labour market statistics by the Learning and Work Institute, the proportion of unemployed young people (not counting students) who are not claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit and are therefore are not receiving official help with job search, or other areas, is consistently around 60%, and has risen by more than 20% since 2012. Expansion of projects like MyGo could be a key part of the answer to how these young people can be properly supported into work.
We are also pleased to see that the Committee has conducted a web forum of young people aged 16-24 as part of their inquiry, giving them the opportunity to give their views on Jobcentre Plus, careers advice and other areas being considered by the committee such as the ‘National Living Wage’. We are also in discussions with the Committee about the possibility of providing oral witness evidence.
More information on the scope of the inquiry can be found here.