The youth unemployment crisis


The latest figures out today show that there has been a slight fall in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).  However, now is not the time to be complacent, the figures are still very high.  Today we launch a small scale piece of research which examines what would improve the employment rate for young people.  We would love to hear from others about your experiences of what steps need to be taken to help, particularly the most vunerable young people into secure sustained employment.

Download the full report here

The report was undertaken pro bono for PEF and examines what would improve the employment rate of young people, and particularly within small and medium enterprises. It recognises the practical issues faced by education providers and employers alike in the context of economic stringency, and offers pragmatic recommendations to improve the supply of suitably qualified young people to the workplace.

It considers that both education providers and businesses alike fail to fully understand on a regular basis ‘what is really needed’ in order for young people to successfully gain employment. Despite sincere motives, some employers are poorly informed about what schools actually achieve; some schools are poorly informed about what prospective employers are looking for.

The report recommends that the drive for achieving effective progression to work is the primary responsibility of schools and colleges and that:

  • Government should be clearer to schools that they have the option to retain work experience for 14-16 year olds
  • OfSTED should include a specific focus the effectiveness of the preparation made by schools for its students to succeed in the workplace, and on the scope and impact of their liaison with their local business community.
  • The PEF ThinkForward model of a ‘consistent professional ‘should be applied to support those vulnerable young people who are looking for employment
  • Local authorities should be reminded of their opportunities to create employment for young people through their procurement practices

Alan Lazell is a freelance education professional. He has extensive senior management experience at divisional director level in a local authority, with a particular emphasis upon 14-19 issues.

Bold new government programme to support young people in the transition from school into work

The Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, has announced plans for a new Traineeship programme to provide young people with the skills, attitudes and experience to secure and sustain employment through ‘on the job’ training.

The Private Equity Foundation welcomes the proposal for Traineeships as a clearly defined alternative route to work for young people. It implements many of the key recommendations in the Wolf Report on vocational education and Richard Review on Apprenticeships , and delivers on the commitments in the Coalition Agreement to work pairing.

We submitted the following response to the consultation to support the development of the Traineeship delivery and funding model, in collaboration with our partner charities, Workingrite, ThinkForward and Tomorrow’s people, and our business network. As an intermediary, we are in a unique position to be able to represent the voice of both providers and employers, as well as young people themselves.

Read the full submission

Our key recommendations to maximise the success of Traineeships can be summarised as follows:

  • Build on what works – Local as well as national providers and employers with a track record in delivering core components of Traineeships (work placements, work skills training and mentoring) should be involved in designing and developing the Traineeship programme.
  • Start early – Research has shown that young people would benefit from access to the world of work before embarking on a traineeship to be successful, as well as high quality advice at school.  For those that are disaffected, the Traineeship programme needs to encourage providers to prepare and motivate young people at 14 to 16 years so that they do not move further away from the job market.
  • Work placements are key – Placements that provide an authentic experience of the world of work should be the core component of Traineeships.
  • Training needs to be personalised and relevant – Traineeships should leave trainees with skills that are in demand by employers in the local labour market. Any training needs to be personalised to the young person’s needs and learning style, and introduced at a pace and quantity in line with the young person’s development as an employee.
  • Transparent and accessible funding model – Funding should be directly accessible to all providers, including successful small, local providers in the voluntary sector, and reflect the level of quality needed to deliver the programme successfully.
  • No financial barriers for young people – The Traineeship model will not work if there is no allowance paid to the young trainee. There should be a government contribution towards the young people’s training allowance – but not all the costs. We believe there is      merit in exploring a model whereby the training allowance paid to each young person is a funding split between government and business.

We are setting up a cross-sector roundtable in the upcoming weeks. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in joining us. Together we can shape a successful Traineeship programme and network of providers and employers that delivers positive outcomes for young people.

Email: for more informati0n.