There was a sobering moment last week for us all. Government figures revealed that over a million young people are out of work, education or training.
Speaking in Leeds last week, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that £1 billion of taxpayers’ money will be given to employers in a bid to drive down the spiraling jobless numbers among the young.
The government said employers will be given £2,275 for each worker they take on in the next three years, meaning they’ll effectively be subsidising work and training placement schemes.
With the country in the middle of a what could turn out to be a decade long slump, employers can afford to be picky and choose from those with the most experience.
It’s not just ‘neets’ (not in education, employment, or training) to use the political parlance, who find themselves in an ever-increasing competitive job market. They also have to compete with the more experience job seekers as people from all sectors across country are vying for scarce jobs with companies continuing to make redundancies and tighten their belts.
“I think that the outlook is probably the toughest outlook that young people are faced with,” she said.
“Whether they’re leaving school, college or university in the last few years, 22% of young people are out of work. In the constituency that I represent, Leeds West, the numbers are much higher than that. Long term youth unemployment has gone up by around 80% since the start of the year. That’s the scale of the problem.”
In Leeds city center, jobseekers knowyourleeds spoke to said the main problem was that employers aren’t hiring them because they lack one vital attribute on their CV: experience.
You can here what jobseekers had to say in the Audioboo below.
Employers aren’t hiring because they want people who have worked before. Businesses aren’t to blame. But is the government right and are these proposal right for Leeds’ young people?
As an economist before she became Leeds’ only female MP in last years election, Rachel Reeves said that people with high qualifications are taking jobs that would’ve traditionally have gone to people fresh out of school.
A mixture of graduates, school and college leavers in the job market with their more experienced elders has created a “crazy” situation she said.
“Everyone is applying for the same jobs, irrespective of their qualifications,” she said.
“This year was the best for GCSE and ‘A’ Level results. Yet youth unemployment has not been higher for 20 years.”
Rachel Reeves unsurprisingly believes the priority should be to make sure that young people leaving school and college get an opportunity to contribute and put something back in the economy.
“It just seems a huge waste, a criminal waste really, of the talents and skills of young people who we’re not harnessing and that we’re letting them languish on benefits. They could be contributing, paying taxes and making a difference, especially at the start of their working lives when it so important to get into the habit and learn those skills of work.”
What do you think? Are businesses to blame? Should the government be doing more for entrepreneurs?
Have your say in the comments section or as usual tweet @knowyourleeds