We welcome the Levelling Up White Paper and the detail it provides on how the Government will drive the long-term systems change needed to spread opportunity and prosperity across the UK.
It is encouraging to see commitments to rises in pay and employment, and to significantly increase the number of people gaining high-quality skills, prioritised in the Government’s new missions.
It is unacceptable that one in 10 young people are not in education, training, or employment (NEET). Long-term youth unemployment is stubbornly high, risking scarring effects for individuals and a growing mental health crisis. There are concerning polarisations developing between young people in and out of education, and between those in and out of the labour market, made worse by significant regional and ethnic disparities. If we could match the lower NEET rates seen in Germany, that could provide a £40bn boost to our national GDP.
At Youth Futures Foundation, levelling up for young people is at the heart of what we do. That’s why we’ve launched our £6.1m Connected Futures Fund to reduce the fragmentation of youth employment and skills delivery in the places that need it most. Our aim is to join up services at a local level so that young people furthest from the job market receive good quality, consistent support that understands their complex needs. We look forward to building on this momentum.