Phillip Lee MP: Imperative to reduce unemployed youthBy Dr Phillip Lee MP
April 18, 2012
I believe reducing the number of unemployed young people is absolutely imperative.
While times are challenging now, youth unemployment has been rising steadily over the last 14 years.
The present Government shares my desire to reduce youth unemployment and has already implemented a variety of initiatives to help young people get into work. These include:
- The Work Programme, which offers tailored support for jobseekers;
- Doubling the number of apprenticeship starts to over 400,000;
- Introducing sector-based work academies;
- Expanding the number of work experience placements available.
However, ministers are determined to do more.
This is why from April 1 this year, young people aged 18 to 24 have been able to access help from the Government’s Youth Contract.
This expands the number of work experience placements available for young people and guarantees every young person a job interview through sector-based Work Academies if they want one.
In addition to this, it also provides subsidies of up to £2,275 to British businesses to take on up to 160,000 apprentices.
This is more than enough to cover an employer’s National Insurance contributions for one year and is also more than the CBI recommended in their recent report on youth unemployment.
Furthermore, as part of the Youth Contract, young people can expect extra support and advice at Jobcentres, including weekly rather than fortnightly meetings and a National Careers Service interview.
By giving young people the opportunity to get real work experience, the Government has found that 50 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds move off benefits within three months of completing a placement.
I would also personally advocate the reduction, or perhaps removal, of the minimum wage for those under 21 years.
I must stress that this is not Government policy.
However, I strongly believe that the present rate of minimum pay is reducing the opportunity for work experience amongst young people.
I am sure that most local employers around Bracknell and Wokingham would agree with me.
Is it not better that a young person secures work experience, develops that precious commodity of ‘a work ethic’ and manages to enhance their CV so that a better-paid job is secured in the future?
We all know that we depend upon younger generations being successful in life for the country to have a prosperous future.