Detail of Plan for Jobs is critical

Street League welcomes the Plan for Jobs that the Chancellor’s announced, including the Kickstart Scheme and investment in Apprenticeships, to help tackle youth unemployment. We look forward to hearing the detail of how and where these investments will be made and continuing to work with Job Centres, referral partners and employers to support young people’s transition to employment. Guaranteeing that the right support reaches young people and employers to access these opportunities is critical to ensuring young people who are most in need of support are able to benefit.

Emphasis needed on sustainable solutions

Similar to Skills Development Scotland's Employability Fund, we hope that there will be an emphasis placed on youth employment services prior to and during the initial six-month work placements, to make these solutions sustainable. For young people whose opportunities are not continued beyond the six-month period, there needs to be a clear transition back into support so that the skills and experience they gained are not lost. We know that an ongoing cycle of unemployment when young can have devastating consequences throughout a person’s life and career.

Street League’s Aftercare Service offers in-work support and sees us ensure that six months after going into an opportunity at least 60% of young people who moved into a job are still there or have moved into a new opportunity six months later. Support to transition from one job to another has been particularly critical in the past few months as lockdown changed the shape of the labour market.

Data from: ONS 2020, Resolution Foundation’s ‘Class of 2020’.

Long-term investment for youth employment services needed

Youth unemployment has risen far more quickly than in past recessions and reducing these takes time and investment. Even when the economy is booming, 7 to 9 per cent of young people, predominantly living the most deprived communities and from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, struggle disproportionately to find work. Street League's Managing Director, Lindsey Macdonald said:

"There is a risk that a short-term mindset could only serve to delay the youth unemployment crisis we are trying to avoid. Government funding must consider and invest in employment services over the next three to four years and ensuring continuous support for young people facing additional barriers to employment."

Street League has continued to deliver services to young people throughout lockdown, launching Health, Body, Future in June. The remote service has been adapted from the award-winning sport and employability programmes delivered across 13 regions in Scotland and England.

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