Unemployed youths willing to work … but can’t

March 05, 2010, 2:49 AM GMT+0

Britain risks losing out on many key workers as unemployed young people struggle to find work.

A poll undertaken on behalf of the Prince’s Trust and the CITI Foundation is one of the largest UK surveys of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) and found that the majority want to work. 64% stated that finding a job is their top priority. However, a lack of jobs due to the recession, financial difficulties and poor career guidance is holding many young people back from achieving their full potential.

The poll asked what people thought were the biggest barriers to finding a job. The most common factor was the recession, with 45% saying that this affected their ability to find work. Also scoring very highly was having no work experience – 39% claimed that this was the case. A quarter (25%) of young people said they didn’t have the right qualifications to gain the employment they wanted. Other factors include having a lack of confidence and not being sure of which job to pursue.

An untapped resource

However, 69% of young people feel that with the right help they could get the career they want – suggesting that the pool of young unemployed respondents represents an untapped resource of workers in sorely undersubscribed sectors. Improved career guidance, education and paid work experience opportunities could help provide this group with crucial skills and employment.

The poll finds that unemployment is not limited to those who are uneducated or ‘dropouts’. Of unemployed 16-24 year olds, 37% are university graduates and 35% have completed college or sixth form. Only eight percent left school before the age of 16.

During the recession the economy contracted, with higher levels of unemployment and fewer jobs available. Combined with the government policy of increasing the number of young people at university, the result is a significant number of qualified young people with no outlet to use their newly gained skills.

The UK surely cannot miss this opportunity to encourage and develop its talented youth, who may among them provide many more teachers, nurses and other key workers for the future benefit of the nation.

For full survey and results, please click here