The National Union of Students (NUS) is leading private, public and non-profit sector delegates in tackling youth employment issues.
The ‘Commission on the Future of Work’ was launched at the first NUS Students and Work summit on the 3rd March . Written and oral evidence will be taken and recommendations for shared action will be developed. Key partners, experts and opinion farmers will inform the commission’s findings.
The NUS has stressed the need for a fresh approach to tackling youth employment concerns by releasing new research titled ‘Students and Work’.The research has highlighted the fact that students and graduates are more pessimistic than optimistic about the job market. Almost four in ten said they were pessimistic, while only three in ten were optimistic.
Students and graduates are also more inclined to place responsibility for improving the job market on employers. 55% think that big employers are accountable, while 33% think responsibility lies with small employers.
85% of students and graduates were in favour of travel discounts, such as graduate railcards, to help unemployed graduates who lived a considerable distance from potential employment and work placement schemes.
78% were in favour of increasing the Minimum Wage to the Living Wage, and 77% want job placements to be available on all courses.
The recession has intensified youth unemployment, seeing one million people out of work. Evidently there needs to be a greater response to the problems currently facing young people and the long-term structural causes of problems with youth employment.
The fall in unemployment figures contradicts the reality of young workers in the UK; at least 250,000 young people have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
While delivering the keynote address at the summit, Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, said “the Government actively encourages employers to invest in young people by offering worthwhile work experience and internships and getting involved in the design and delivery of courses.”
Frances O’Grady, Trades Union Congress General Secretary, said at the summit “while recent falls in unemployment are very welcome, there’s a long way to go before we see the rates of pay and employment enjoyed before the recession. The government needs to be far more proactive in helping young people into decent work.
“Current schemes are clearly not working. It’s time for a bold new approach. We need to see a job guarantee for every young person who has been out of work for more than six months.”
NUS President Tony Pearce said, “we are the first generation who stands to be worse off than their parents. Everybody from government to business, trade unions to youth employment experts must play a part in repairing the damage which has been done to the opportunities for the next generation.
“It’s depressing to hear that students are pessimistic about their job prospects before they’ve even set foot out of the door of their institutions.
Apprentices working to get a vocational job don’t have it any easier.
“Today we will be taking the first step in forging a new deal for work for the next generation. We will be asking questions on creating job opportunities, improving the quality of opportunities and helping young people’s pathways to work. This will inspire our next step, creating the ‘Commission on the Future of Work’, because we know that working together with organisations is the way forward.”