The Great Debate UK

The cost of youth unemployment


Tony McAleavy-Tony McAleavy is the Director of Education at CfBT Education Trust. The opinions expressed are his own.-

In response to fears that 16 and 17 year olds were the forgotten victims of the recession, the government announced an extra 72,000 school, college and apprenticeship places from this month. If all the places are taken up, non-participation might dip from 14 percent to around 10 percent. And yet, as many as 100,000 16 and 17 year olds currently in employment (with or without training) would still be at risk from the recession.

This isn’t the first time youth unemployment has seen a worrying bulge. Since the early 1970s, policymakers have tried 34 different schemes – from the Training Opportunities Programme launched in 1972, to the Youth Training Scheme of the 1980s.

So what worked, what didn’t and have we learned anything from the millions spent about what actually gets young people off benefits and into work or full-time education? Our study of past schemes highlights ways forward for dealing with a very current problem.