Sector calls on Prime Minister to deliver Opportunity Guarantee for young people

Aug 30, 2021

The Youth Employment Group has written an open letter to the Prime Minister, signed by 89 youth employment experts, calling for an opportunity guarantee of an education place, apprenticeship or job for all young people. 

Today, excerpts of the Youth Employment Group’s open letter to the Prime Minister on the Opportunity Guarantee were featured in The Mirror.

Dear Prime Minister, 

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, we welcomed your public commitment to an ‘Opportunity Guarantee’ so that all young people could get the help that they need to get into work through investment in employment support, education, training and jobs. This timely response made a significant contribution to averting the worst of the jobs crisis.   

But the challenge for young people is far from over.  

Today, one in eight of all young people are not in full-time education or training and most are not looking for work due to health challenges, disability or caring responsibilities. These young people have been overlooked in the Plan for Jobs response so far. Meanwhile, long-term youth unemployment has risen by nearly a half during the crisis to 200,000, and it’s reached its highest level in five years. We know that young people with multiple disadvantages and lower qualifications are much more likely to become long-term unemployed, threatening the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.   

In the coming months, we need to maintain momentum on helping jobseekers and education leavers and do far more for young people from marginalised backgrounds and those furthest from the labour market. With at least half a million young people leaving full-time education this summer, we cannot afford to assume a youth employment recovery, as the situation for young people experiencing disadvantages remains precarious and uncertain.  

To address these challenges and improve the prospects of young people in the post-COVID economy, we propose a three-stage approach in ‘Levelling up for young people: Building an Opportunity Guarantee’:

  1. Ensure that all young people, whether leaving school, college, or university this summer, have the opportunity of an education place, apprenticeship or job
  2. Invest in young people in this Spending Review to prevent long-term unemployment among young people, as we’ve seen in the years after previous downturns
  3. Drive forward a coordinated cross-departmental approach to tackling short-term and long-term youth unemployment to ensure that there will be no ‘lost generation’

Investing in opportunities now will help to prevent the economic and individual scarring effects we’ve seen from previous recessions and ensure that young people are not left behind. We firmly believe that this package of actions will enable regions, businesses, and households to put young people at the heart of a future flourishing economy that levels up opportunity for all. We stand ready, as a coalition of over 200 organisations working across the country to support youth employment, to help the government make these actions a reality.   


The Youth Employment Group

  •  Eleanor Harrison OBE, Chief Executive, Impetus  
  • Jonathan Townsend, UK CEO, The Prince’s Trust 
  • Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO, Youth Employment UK  
  • Anna Smee, CEO, Youth Futures Foundation 
  • Tony Wilson, Institute Director, Institute for Employment Studies 
  • Stephen Evans, CEO, Learning and Work Institute 
  • Kieran Gordon, Executive Director, Careers England  
  • David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges  
  • Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Youth & Children’s Services, London Borough of Hounslow  
  • Kayleigh Wainwright, Director of Collective Action, UK Youth 
  • Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive, Groundwork UK  
  • Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK  
  • Mike Hobday, Executive Director Policy & Campaigns, National Deaf Children’s Society 
  • Anna Morrison, Director, Amazing Apprenticeships  
  • Nicola Inge, Employment and Skills Director, Business in the Community 

Download a copy of the letter for a full list of signatories here. 

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