Policy update April 2014
For the Impetus-PEF Policy team, 2014 started off with a bang as we continued our School-to-work transition campaign, promoting early intervention in order to tackle the structural nature of youth unemployment in the UK.
We started the year by publishing Make NEETs history in 2014. The report argues that the transition from education to employment starts as young as 14, when young people make decisions about which GCSEs or other qualifications to study. These decisions can have a profound impact on their future employment destinations. For the kids born into the hope and promise of the new millennium, 2014 is a critical year. Policymakers, educationalists, businesses and charities owe it to our young people to support them in key career decisions and provide well-defined pathways into employment.
The report, like the broader campaign, calls for greater collaboration across Government departments and for a time-limited (one term) Minister of State for School-to-Work Transitions, with responsibility for setting the vision for the UK’s youth labour market in the 21st century and galvanizing support across the business community, education sector and throughout Whitehall and Westminster to achieve it. With a million young people out of work today, we do need programmes to get them into work, however if we ignore the need for all young people to make a successful transition from education into employment, we risk the career prospects of the next generation of young workers.
We have been collaborating with The Work Foundation on The Missing Million research programme. Since 2012, we have published a number of papers that seek to identify who those one million out of work young people are, to better understand why they have been unable to secure employment and to make recommendations for policymakers, based on the findings. This year two new reports have been published, both looking at the geographical disparities of youth unemployment, one with a particular lens on London. Both show that it really is a case of location, location, location. Within London, youth unemployment fluctuates between 9% and 26%, depending on the borough in question.
Many of the recommendations are aimed at a local response, building local partnerships between businesses and schools and ensuring young people have access to information about their local labour market and the skills, qualifications and experience they will need to be successful in it.
The “School-to-work transition” campaign is gaining traction. We’ve been interviewed on TV, had our reports covered by National press and have spoken at events alongside MP’s of all colours. We constantly look for ways to engage more broadly and we are currently developing an “Employability framework” that seeks to build a common consensus on what constitutes as being employable. We will be launching the framework at the Youth Employment Convention business breakfast. Through a combination of desk research, focus groups with employers, interviews and a social media consultation, we believe this will be a powerful tool both for those who employ young people and for those who prepare young people for their transition from education into employment.