By Marcus Leach

In his speech yesterday, the Chancellor George Osborne announced the doubling in number of planned university technical colleges (UTCs) from 12 to at least 24.

This new measure will provide technical training for the ‘lost generation’ of 16-24 year olds who are experiencing the highest unemployment since records began in 1992 as it approaches the sensitive 1 million mark.

The Chancellor said he would fund an extra 40,000 apprenticeships, plus 10,000 higher level training places. Additionally there will be 100,000 places on a new work experience scheme over the next two years, up from 20,000 previously stated.

Mr Osborne is making £180m available for up to 50,000 additional apprenticeship places over the next four years which would provide additional capacity to support young unemployed people, in particular through progression from the work experience programme.

Carmen Watson managing director of leading recruitment Pertemps Recruitment Partnership said, “I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement and specifically the focus on the ‘lost generation’. The Chancellor’s commitment to re-establish prospects for this age group is vital in helping Britain increase its competitiveness within the global economy, and continue to make the UK more attractive for businesses. Making funds available is a step forward but whilst mentoring and coaching initiatives are helpful what these young people really need is sustainable employment.”

Joblessness among 16-24-year-olds reached 965,000 in the fourth quarter, or 20.5%, the highest since records began in 1992. A third of the total unemployed had been out of work for more than 12 months, the figures showed.

Watson continued, “It’s alarming that employment is continuing to rise amongst young people. Given Britain’s aging population, it is important that young people are placed into work early on, and employers should remain flexible and welcome them into the workplace through internships and internal mentoring and coaching.”