In the UK there are currently around 1½ million young people not in education, employment or training. Nationally, youth unemployment is becoming a significant issue, with the number of 16-24 year olds claiming job-seekers allowance (JSA) rising by 14.3% over the last year. Employment is a future determinant of health, as unemployment is linked to poor health and increased mortality. This is a major concern as the current economic situation means there is less work for people of all ages, including young people.
What do we know?
In Shropshire, there was an 11.7% increase in JSA claimants aged 16-24 years old, with 31% of all claimants now aged 24 or less (February 2012).
There are reports that an average of 80 young people are now applying for every available job. Unsurprisingly, there are significantly more JSA claimants in the most deprived areas of Shropshire compared to the least deprived.
What are we doing?
Locally there are a number of services and initiatives that are in place to address the needs of local young people who are unemployed. These include:
- Citizens Advice
- Jobcentre Plus
- Adult and Community Learning
- Next Steps
There are also areas of joint work with different agencies that are undertaken, including work with children’s services to address needs within families with multiple problems and work with social landlords.
What can we do?
- increase the range, quality and co-ordination of progression routes from education to work. This could be targeted at those most at risk of becoming NEET
- increase young people’s ‘soft employment’ skills such as self-discipline, communication, concentration and motivation
- increase young people’s understanding of the labour market, eg what jobs are available and how to get them, and utilising employer engagement in education
- increase access to high quality work experience, as this especially benefits the most disadvantaged young people
- improve partnerships that are required to support young people with complex needs to succeed in education, eg young carers and young people with limiting long-term conditions
- Yencourage young people in work to act as mentors for those who are not