Figures released show youth (16- 24) unemployment nearing figures of one million and some have already begun to foresee this causing serious social unrest as happened in the 1980s. With such a stark reality for the future of British youth employment it is shocking to see such a poorly misguided and lacklustre input from the government.
In my opinion, one of the most effective and beneficial approaches to youth employment is the apprenticeship scheme. For those who do not wish to enter full-time higher education, it allows a gradual transition period between work and employment, teaching valuable skills and trades as well as life skills such as organisation and time management.
Apprenticeship schemes are not only beneficial to young people, they allow firms access to a labour force that is willing to learn and can be trained specifically for many jobs. If approached properly they can provide a highly trained loyal workforce for years to come. These schemes are beneficial to both parties, meaning that government intervention should be kept to a minimum. This is not the case, as the recession has impacted upon youth employment Labour have jumped on the ‘apprentice bandwagon’ in their usual vote-grabbing fashion.
A government launched website aimed to increase the number of apprenticeship places has failed on an impressive scale. So far just 1,185 out of 18,000 places have been filled on government schemes. There is no need for the government to fiddle with this aspect of the labour market with top-down, unrealistic, quotas and application schemes. Left to the firms and individuals, the most efficient result would be obtained, benefiting all. As the youth labour market currently stands, the government is acting as more of a hindrance than helper.
If it really wanted to give young people the best start in society it would reduce benefits to school leavers, which currently act as a disincentive to find work. Only by allowing firms to offer incentives to young people can this valuable section of society be mobilised to its greatest capacity.