By Marcus Leach

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be announcing their youth unemployment initiative designed to boost work prospects and vocational education for the (nearly) 1 million, 16-24 year olds which are unemployed.

It is a part of the government’s new Work Programme due to be launched in the next few weeks, which is hoped will transform the lives of millions of people on long terms benefits.

Billed as “the most ambitious back to work programme this country has ever seen,” by Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment, it is hoped it will bring to an end a persistent problem which has defeated previous administrations of all persuasions.

The Programme effectively marks a move by the government to share this challenge with employers, and experts will be closely monitoring the role ‘delivery partners’, as the government has labelled them, will play in finding a solution for rising unemployment and breaking a culture of state dependency as a gauge for the Programme’s success.

Despite businesses beginning to recruit again, what the most recent unemployment figures demonstrate is that companies are in fact struggling to find the right calibre of staff amongst the 2.48 million people currently unemployed in the UK.

Crucially, youth unemployment, standing at an all time high 936,000 — and rising, is becoming an increasingly detrimental statistic to Britain’s future economic growth. Youth unemployment is, of course, only one part of unemployment figures and they need to be segmented in order to provide appropriate solutions. If left untreated, however defined, this risks damaging the country’s economic growth and recovery.

Speaking on the topic of Apprenticeships, Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) said:

“The government’s plan to launch more apprenticeships for young people — though an attractive solution due to rising university costs - is part of the solution to bridge the so called ‘skills gap’ identified by George Osborne, and there needs to be more co-operation across a myriad of stakeholders.

“We believe that employers and training agencies need to be actively involved in bridging this gap. Work experience is a good example, although is ad hoc and in most cases unstructured. Whilst there are some excellent examples of good practice, employers need to make an effort to build on best practice and improve work experience so that the individuals gain an insightful learning experience that will help and prepare them for when the time comes for them to make that leap into their chosen employment.”

FSP has been paving the way for creating a dialogue and bridging the gap between employers and those looking for work by launching its ‘Work Experience Portal’ to appeal to young people.

Whilst initially aimed at the traditional work experience age group, it will be extended for other work placements. They have also recently re-launched their ‘Directions’ site — a UK wide online information and careers site designed to provide impartial advice and recruitment for careers in the financial sectors and this continues to be enhanced and improved by FSP employer panels to ensure it appeals to job seekers.