Youth Employment Group

Advocating for full and inclusive employment for young people, the Youth Employment Group is the UK’s largest coalition of youth employment experts with 300 member organisations. 

Why was the YEG set up? 

In 2020, in response to the crisis and its impact on young people, Impetus, Youth Futures Foundation, Youth Employment UK, the Institute for Employment Studies, the Learning & Work Institute and The Prince’s Trust formed the Youth Employment Group (YEG) to bring together the youth employment sector to help drive the UK’s response. Now with over 300 member organisations, our coalition advocates for full and inclusive employment for young people. 

Young people were hit first and hardest in the labour market by this pandemic and, despite rapidly moving into work as the economy reopened, the recovery has not been equal for all young people.  

What are the current challenges? 

Youth employment has recovered since the spring of 2021, but has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels and we’ve even seen a record low of the number of unemployed young people. This is, in part, due to the success of employment schemes deployed over the crisis. However, systemic problems lie beneath the surface. Economic inactivity remains stubbornly high and the barriers young people face in accessing the labour market are compounded by the significant increase in the cost of living.

It is alarming that one in eight young people remain outside of learning or work despite record levels of participation in full-time education, and overall unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years as employers struggle to fill vacancies. The majority of the one in eight are from the most marginalised backgrounds and face increased barriers to employment. Their challenges are specific and require tailored responses.  

What is the scale of the opportunity? 

Every young person deserves the opportunity to pursue the education and training they need to secure a good job, and our economy would benefit. The UK’s GDP could gain £38bn by lowering levels of young people classed as NEETs (not in education, employment or training) to German levels. 

How is the YEG tackling this? 

We are now focusing on the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the employment prospects of young people, in particular those facing the greatest challenges. Through our insights and expertise, we analyse the conditions that have historically prevented young people furthest from the labour market from achieving employment – to make sure they benefit from good quality job opportunities. 

Collectively, our membership represents and advocates for full and inclusive youth employment in response to a fast-changing economic context. We work collaboratively with governments and policymakers to ensure that the job prospects of young people – especially those facing disadvantage – are not forgotten as the economy moves into a new phase, the mental health impact of the pandemic increases and the cost of living crisis takes hold. 

How are young people involved? 

We are committed to embedding the views and experiences of young people and the challenges they are facing through the Youth Voice Forum, chaired by young people. It meets monthly on a range of topics, providing a space for them to engage in the YEG and share their experiences, challenges, ideas and solutions. 

What do the YEG subgroups focus on? 

 Through a partnership with the Westminster Foundation, the YEG supports subgroups that focus on the causes and solutions of issues facing different groups of young people, and the support they need. These subgroups focus on: 

  • Disability 
  • Youth justice 
  • Apprenticeships 
  • Self-employment 
  • Employers 
  • Quality of work 
  • Ethnic disparities 

Ethnic Disparities Subgroup

The Youth Employment Group (YEG) launched the Ethnic Disparities Subgroup in July 2021 to zoom in on specific barriers young people face accessing employment. The Ethnic Disparities Subgroup is co-chaired by Youth Futures Foundation and the Council for Somali Organisations and was set up to zero in on the employment disparities young people from ethnic minority backgrounds face and to bring together experts from the YEG to explore specifically how we can support more young people from ethnic minority backgrounds into high quality employment, education or training. The subgroup meets every 6-8 weeks and, in 2021-2022, Youth Futures has commissioned three strands of research in collaboration with the Learning & Work Institute and Savanta ComRes. The projects include a rapid evidence review of policies affecting young people from ethnic minority backgrounds over the last 10-15 years, a data analysis project looking into ethnicity data gaps, and a nationally representative youth voice survey of over 2,500 young people from ethnic minority backgrounds on their experiences, outlook and attitudes in the context of work.

“As Co-Chair of the YEG Ethnic Disparities subgroup, I want to uncover what influences the employment prospects of young people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds. Currently, we are identifying how evidence is informing policy and practice in this area, as well as pinpointing gaps in knowledge. Our aim is to support more young people into high-quality education, training or employment by developing evidence-based recommendations.” 

 Kahiye Alim, Director, Council of Somali Organisations 

How do I join? 

If your organisation would like to join the Youth Employment Group to share your practices, insights and/or research, please complete our member enquiry form

If you are an organisation or employer that would like to join the YEG’s Ethnic Disparities Subgroup, please get in touch by emailing angel.fletcher@youthfuturesfoundation.org

 

Latest activity:

Youth Employment Group reflect on declining economic outlook

Members of the Youth Employment Group (YEG) reflected on the youth labour market outlook amidst the rising cost-of-living crisis at the latest YEG meeting in October.

The October meeting of the YEG included an update from our chairs, reflections on the latest labour market stats and the recent mini-budget, a policy landscape overview, a presentation on EDSK’s Apprenticeship Levy report, an update from the Youth Voice Forum followed by member updates.

Labour market outlook

Christoffer Soderberg, Economic Researcher at Learning & Work Institute, began with a discussion on the macro situation the economy is in following the reversal of the mini-budget. He described how, according to the data, the UK is facing a decades-long decline in living standards, fuelled by low economic growth and high inequality. The last year has been made worse by increases in costs such as energy. Key points:

  • Unemployment has come down since the pandemic, while vacancies have gone up and are staying up.
  • The youth labour market outlook is positive overall, with long-term unemployment and numbers of those not in education, employment or training (NEET) down.
  • There is still more to be done. There has been a huge increase in mental ill health among young people and increases in economic inactivity due to sickness and long-term health conditions.
  • The unemployment rate for young people is still higher than for other age groups.

Policy overview

Richard Rigby, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at The Prince’s Trust, gave an overview of the current youth policy landscape and highlighted key points made at recent party conferences:

  • At the Labour Party Conference, a significant announcement outlined the party’s plan to reform the Apprenticeship Levy into a Growth and Skills Levy.
  • The Government launched a new £122 million service to enable those already seeking mental health support to speak with employment advisors.

Youth Voice Forum

The October Youth Voice Forum focused on skills for the future and young people’s perceptions of these skills.

  • The session was chaired by Eilish Peters, Policy and Youth Voice Coordinator at Youth Employment UK, and aimed to explore young people’s understanding of skills for future jobs such as green skills and digital skills.
  • Katherine Emms, Senior Education and Policy Researcher at Edge Foundation, provided an overview of current skills shortages and the variety of skills that are needed for different jobs.

EDSK

Eleanor Regan, Researcher at education and skills think tank EDSK, presented key findings from EDSK’s Changing course(s) A new vision for employer investment in skills and the apprenticeship levy. Recommendations included:

  • A new funding infrastructure: Eisting Apprenticeship Levy should be broadened in scope into a new ‘Apprenticeship and Skills Levy’ (ASL)
  • Clearer objectives and responsibilities: National apprenticeship fund – apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship provision. The National Skills Fund – devolved fund for non-apprenticeship provision to meet skills needs and shortages.

Finally, members of the YEG shared their updates, opportunities, and activities within the youth employment sector.

The next YEG meeting will be held on Tuesday 22 November, 2-3pm.

 

Read the full Youth Employment Group minutes here.

If you do not have the YEG meetings in your diary, please contact Angel.

 

 

YEG blog archive

September 2022

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