WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST
For nearly four years one million young people have been unemployed in Britain. The number of 16-24 year olds out-of-work for more than twelve months has increased by over 150% since 2008.
The effects are sorely felt by individuals, families and communities. They ripple through society and will harm our economy for years to come; it is estimated that last year alone youth unemployment cost the Treasury more than £10 billion.
The unemployed have higher chances of poor health such as heart attacks, as well as mental stress and low self-esteem leading to depression. One in five feel the long lasting effects of youth unemployment in terms of lower wages and more time spent unemployed. A young person out-of-work for more than a year is likely to spend nearly 9% more time being jobless, than they would have done otherwise.
If children grow up without working parents they’re more likely to believe aspiration and hard work leads nowhere. So a damaging cycle of generational worklessness begins.
Overtime Britain will suffer reduced productivity and earnings, and more unemployment. This is as well as missing out on tax receipts and paying more in welfare benefits today.
And our bright young things give us a competitive advantage, which is especially important as emerging economies redefine the international landscape. Our million young minds offer a fresh perspective and it would be a travesty if we let them go to waste. Britain’s talented graduates can easily get stranded in unemployment, and more and more are accepting low skilled jobs.
O2 estimated that the combined digital skills of the young unemployed could be worth up to £6.7billion to our economy. An empowered generation will add value to businesses and give this old country a new lease of life.
So for the wider social and economic good, as well as the individuals affected, their families and communities, we need to harness these talents. There is no simple solution and it will require a big, organised effort. But it will be worth it.