GoThinkBig.co.uk asks: Is David Cameron’s government failing young unemployed people?

GoThinkBig.co.uk editor, Molly Pierce, wonders if all those government, schemes, programmes and jobcentres are actually doing anything to improve the massive youth unemployment rate? Published 19/08/13 on GoThinkBig…

Is David Cameron's government failing young unemployed people?

There’s a huge wealth of government schemes out there that are designed to tackle unemployment among young people. And yeah, it’s a really big, massive problem for the UK. But are endless schemes, programmes, and jobcentres actually doing the job they’re supposed to do? Well, youth unemployment is still increasing – and a recent report suggests that the government’s approach isn’t doing anything to help.

The Local Government Association polled unemployed 16-24 year olds and found that there was widespread frustration and confusion with the government’s systems. There are 35 different national schemes, which cost the country £15 billion a year.

Trying to make sense of what services are available to you is a minefield: we hear this from GoThinkBig readers on a regular basis – and Becky even blogged about the dread she experiences each time she goes. So it’s not that surprising to read that that this is the most frustrating aspect of getting government help with jobseeking. 65% said that Jobcentre Plus hadn’t told them anything new, and only 26% believe the government has the right approach to helping young people find work.

Long term unemployment is also on the rise, which is pretty worrying – it’s doubled since 2008. We figured out a couple of months ago that you could fit all those people onto Tower Bridge twice over, and still have some left over.

So, is the government failing young people? Well, we regularly cover new launches and schemes here at GoThinkBig. There was Open Doors, launched by Nick Clegg and James Caan; Nick Clegg (seeing a pattern here?) celebrating the National Apprenticeship Service; and the Youth Contract, which Chris Anokobea guest blogged about. The motivation behind these schemes – and the many others run by government bodies – are certainly good. Youth unemployment is a huge problem and it’s in everyone’s interests to solve it. But for as many schemes as are launched with a nice shiny website and a ribbon-cutting website, there are people being made to sit fake psychometric tests (), or Scott having his unemployment benefit suspended because he disclosed £200 of freelance earnings.

The system isn’t working. And it’s costing the country a huge amount of money for this failure – both in current, real terms, and in the diminished economic power of a generation that can’t find paid work. The LGA believes that giving local councils the power to tackle youth unemployment on their own terms could cut the slide of unemployment and save money. Centralised schemes aren’t doing the job – so is it time to hand over to local organisations who know the labour market, can collaborate with schools, businesses and skills providers, and start actually making a difference?

Check out GoThinkBig’s  resources for careers advice, which is right here, and read about the digital skills initiative Make Things Do Stuff. They also publish job and work experience  opportunities – for “school-leavers, degree-havers, and everyone in between”.  

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