One of the UK's most influential businessmen, the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) John Cridland, has called long-term youth unemployment “a national disgrace”.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there are 188,000 18 to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. While that figure has decreased 10% in four years it is still trailing behind the fall in long-term unemployment across all other ages, which is down nearly 25% over the same period.

"Long-term youth unemployment is a national disgrace that can leave a life-time scar," Cridland told BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat.

“We've a 10-year story here and I'm afraid, each year, there's a group of youngsters leaving school who, not always, but often, don't have the skills for working life.

“Each summer for every 10 people that leave school I think three have been failed by the system.”

Cridland has encouraged businesses to do more to provide work placement opportunities for young unemployed people. Street League works with employers across the UK to broker work placement and apprenticeship opportunities for our Academy graduates, and provide specialist aftercare support for each young person. For more information contact [email protected]

Cridland also believes that young people who end up long-term unemployed in their late teens and early 20s could face a life time of unemployment.

“I think there's a huge danger that after 12 months of unemployment that you're doomed to a life of inactivity,” he said. “My message to those young people is don't give up.”