We need to put young people back to work. The coalition’s wage incentive scheme aimed to do this, but the early evidence suggests that it is actually doing very little to create new jobs, with only 9 per cent of employers creating vacancies as a direct result of the scheme. Instead, we should adopt a job guarantee for young people, with an offer of work experience to all those out of work and on jobseeker’s allowance for a year or more. It should be paid at the minimum wage in order to allay the justified concern with earlier “workfare” schemes. But it should also be combined with sanctions, with an obligation on the young person to take up the offer or find an alternative. This would have an immediate impact on youth unemployment in the UK, as well as providing much-needed labour market experience for many of the hardest to reach unemployed. The wage incentive scheme, on the other hand, has had the greatest impact on those closest to the labour market, who are more likely to be hired anyway and are less in need of help.
In the longer term, the UK needs a fundamental change in its school-to-work transition system, improving the routes after compulsory education for those not on a degree track. Young people do need to be equipped with the skills employers want, but also with the decent experience in the labour market that apprenticeships and jobs with high-quality training offer. The evidence suggests that there are not enough of these opportunities available to young people in the UK, with most of the growth in apprenticeship numbers being driven by over-25s.
There is an enormous proliferation of schemes attempting to re-connect education and training routes with the jobs available in the labour market. Leeds, for instance, has an ambitious target to “abolish NEETs” (young people who are not in education, employment or training) in the city, and is attempting to reach those most distant from the labour market. We have a lot to learn from how these have performed, but what we need in addition is some simplicity to the system, providing clarity to young people about the different options available to them. This would also help employers looking to hire or train young people but faced with a bewildering array of qualifications and schemes.
Similarly, the experience of other countries is informative.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
via How can we put young people back to work?.
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Job Gap – Youth Unemploment: An Interview with ILO Economist Sara Elder (video)
An Interview with ILO Economist Sara Elder
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The Grand Disconnect – Employers, education providers, and youth
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UK / Youth Work Experience Scheme / Kids need to be given real jobs
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