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29.01.13

UK must learn international lessons on youth unemployment

The rise in youth unemployment in the UK cannot simply be blamed on the recession, a new report by the Work Foundation warns.

Other major competitor economies are significantly better performing on employment, and the report, International lessons: youth unemployment in the global context, offers recommendations for how the UK can improve.

The UK has seen the fastest rise in youth unemployment in any G8 country since the start of the recession, and now has the third worst levels of youth unemployment in the OECD, only ahead of Spain and Greece.

The Work Foundation considered lessons from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia.

It recommends greater employer engagement in apprenticeships, early intervention and an ‘education first’ approach for young unemployed people without qualifications, and raises major concerns about schemes which require people to work for their benefits, with research from Australia deeming them largely ineffective.                                       

Lizzie Crowley, report author, said: “In many other developed nations, youth unemployment has remained low despite the global downturn.

“However, in the UK youth unemployment as a proportion of 15-24 year olds has increased at a faster rate over the course of the recession than both the European and OECD averages. While the reasons for this are complex, it’s clear that the UK can learn from the experiences of those countries that have fared much better in terms of youth unemployment.

“The Government should focus on those policies that have been shown to work, cherry-picking the best responses from other countries and adapting them to the needs of the UK labour market.”

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