By Marcus Leach

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) unemployment figures show a fall in the number of people out of work to reach 2.45 million.

However, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose to 1.52 million — the biggest jump in two years. The number of young people (aged 16-24) who were unemployed in the three months to May 2011 fell to 917,000.

Last month’s ONS unemployment figures revealed unemployment amongst 16-24 year-olds fell slightly after hovering dangerously close to the 1 million mark. Despite this, with the number of graduates flooding on the market, finding employment still remains tough for young people.

“The jobs market remains extremely competitive. It’s important that young people are placed into work early on," Carmen Watson, the Managing Director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, said.

"My advice to young people is to be flexible — some experience is better than no experience. Take up any practical or temporary experience you can get because it will give you first hand experience into ‘real world’ scenarios and as a result help you to develop a range of transferable employability skills that employers are looking for.”

Earlier this year, George Osborne highlighted his concerns over a growing ‘skills gap’ between job seekers and employers. The largely stagnant jobs market and stiff competition for the places available means that students will do anything to stand out to their perspective employers.

As a result, work experience placements and summer ‘boot camps’ are increasingly gaining popularity amongst students to help them stand out in the jobs market.

“The rising popularity of temporary placements marks a change in the mentalities of young people as typically students didn’t make the most of the valuable work experience opportunities during term or holiday times," Carmen continued.

“Work experience placements will not only enhance your CV but give you an insider’s view of an industry. They will also provide you with an opportunity to network and make contacts that could help you maximise your chances of landing a job.”

Overall, UK unemployment has started to fall after an unprecedented rise over the last year but the number of those claiming benefits remains a concern. Recent measures introduced by the government will look to create new opportunities to vulnerable sections of society such as young people and the over fifties.

“Despite the stagnant jobs market, companies still need to work hard to entice the best talent and put together attractive packages with incentives such as training,” Carmen concluded.

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