It is unlikely that even a full blown economic recovery will fully solve the UK's structural youth unemployment problem

Tony Dolphin, Chief Economist, The Institute for Public Policy Research


In the areas where we work, up to 1 in 4 16-24-year-olds are unemployed. With your support, we will tackle this problem head-on using the incredible power of sport.

Although youth unemployment may be falling nationally, it is still a huge problem for many regions in the UK. For young people, the youth unemployment remains high at 13.7% which is almost three times higher than the 4.9% national average. Hundreds of thousands of young people, with no qualifications, are facing huge socio-economic barriers and are still out of work. We believe this is unacceptable and are committed to our vision to see an end to structural youth unemployment in the UK.


80% of our participants come from the top 40% most deprived postcodes of the UK based on IMD definitions (1919/2427)

IMD = Indices of Multiple Deprivation

We support the young people who need our help the most, which means that we run our programmes in the areas with the highest youth unemployment rates. In the map below, you can see the areas in which our programmes are running and the local youth unemployment rates compared to the national averages.

The need for Street League & youth unemployment


One of our roles is to raise awareness of the issue of youth unemployment and bust the myths surrounding what is a complex socio-economic issue. As illustrated below, the biggest barriers to employment can often be similar to the side effects of unemployment. Hence, when out of work for 12 months or more it can form a vicious cycle which is hard to escape without support.

For youngsters facing socio-economic barriers, unemployment can have a long-term impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Research shows that a young adult out of work for a substantial period is more likely to be unemployed and welfare-dependent later in life. On average they will spend two months a year out of work by their late 20s, and suffer from mental and physical health problems, and be more likely to get involved in anti-social behaviour and crime. 

Socio-econoic barriers to employment

An uphill struggle and a vicious cycle.

For many young people around the UK, they face an uphill struggle from the start. Not succeeding in school at an early age (for many different reasons) means that they are often unable to find or keep jobs later on in life. All too often their situation is passed on to their own children, and so it continues. This cycle has repeated for far too long – and we now risk losing the next generation of young people and their future contributions to society. Poverty is often passed on from one generation to the next – there are, for example, almost 300,000 households in the UK where no adult has ever worked.

Watch Leo's story - a refugee from Syria who "was rejected" by everyone else because of his poor English skills, but since finding Street League has landed his "dream job" at the National Football Museum.

Structural youth unemployment begins at an early age.

Even before they start school, there is a 21 percent achievement gap between young people living in relative poverty and the majority. At age 16, there is a gap of 26 percent between young people from low-income homes and others achieving five or more A*-C GCSE passes, or equivalent Young people who fail to get five good GCSEs have a greater than 25 percent chance of being unemployed within 2 years of leaving school. (Source: Impetus PEF)

“I have listened to youg people talk about how Street League has helped them get their lives back on track. It's inspiring stuff.

Max Rushden, TV presenter and Street League Ambassador


  • In FY16/17, we supported 1553 young adults into employment, education and training through our free sport for employment programmes. See more on our social impact in our latest annual report.
  • 65% (1235/1909) of our Academy participants progress into a work, training or education outcome. This compares favourably to other work programmes who do not report on their success rates.
  • 59% (465/784) of our participants sustain these outcomes for at least 6 months. This also compares favourably to the 30% average across the Government Work Programme. See more on sustainment rates.
"It is a great privilege to see the work being undertaken by Street League and to see the positive effect that the charity is having on young lives"

Oscar, Chelsea and Brazil Footballer

Sources: Impetus PEF

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