From education to employment

CBI chief argues growth is not the sole answer for overcoming youth employment

The head of the CBI has emphasised the need to ‘step up’ and help the young generation enter into the world of work.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, called on the government and businesses to invest and support today’s youth by providing them with the viable skills and opportunities they require to get into employment.

Cridland said: “Youth unemployment has been rising since 2004, so it’s clear that a return to growth alone will not be enough to tackle the underlying causes of the problem. Unemployment blights lives. Imbalances in the economy – and between regions – mount up further, and the costs of those millions of people being out of work run into billions of pounds each and every year. The result is sharp divides between the haves and have-nots and across generational lines”.

The CBI combines the thoughts of 240,000 individual businesses and represents a third of the entire private sector workforce and constitutes as the UK’s leading business organisation.

The Action for Jobs report and initiative was developed in October 2011 by CBI and, nine months on, it has published an evaluation of the progress the report has made. It highlights how the £1 billion Youth Contract is in the developmental stages and despite the Government slashing the growth of Apprenticeship and stabilising the minimum wage for youth employees, further changes are still required to help today’s youth.

The Action for Jobs report demands that reviews and modifications are made to England’s education system, with particular emphasis on the transition between Further Education and employment:

  • Relating school funding with employment and academic results

  • Improving the availability and the level of apprenticeships/ training schemes, for young people without skills – both pre-apprenticeship courses and during the apprenticeship itself

  • Developing education to business links in every local community with the full-backing of local employers

  • Implement a comprehensive ‘readiness-for-work’ assessment at Job Centre Plus, to encourage people to concentrate on returning to work

  • Cridland explained that the answer lies in simplicity

“There are 47 different employment initiatives for employers in England alone, which offer funding and support for businesses taking on and training young unemployed people,” he said.

“Busy firms need the whole process to be easier to navigate. Business will step up, but government has to meet it halfway. If ever there was a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees, this is it. Confusion dilutes well-intentioned policies and the impact they should have and we cannot have our young people being denied life-changing opportunities.”

Natasha Spencer

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