Youth Employment Group

Why does the Youth Employment Group exist?

The Youth Employment Group (YEG) exists to ensure that there is a quality employment, education or training pathway for all young people, in particular the most marginalised.

What does the YEG do?

It brings together the UK’s largest coalition of youth employment experts and the latest evidence and insight, with young people who have faced or are facing barriers to employment. Together they:

  • Set the agenda by raising the profile of labour market issues facing young people
  • Provide tools with practical guidance on issues and how to tackle them
  • Drive change in policy and activity by working with employers, local and national governments, civic society and young people.

How will this be achieved?

The YEG advocates for urgent action across the UK to:

  1. Tackle the systemic issues that mean hundreds of thousands of young people are left out of employment and education, permanently damaging their long-term health and wealth
  2. Protect young people during periods of economic uncertainty and labour market decline
  3. Improve the quality and accessibility of support for all young people so that they can secure and progress in employment, education and training.

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


Latest activity:

  • January 2023: Research from the IFS found that the generation who entered the labour market during the pandemic have largely bucked the trend of previous recessions, where those individuals suffer lasting damage to their prospects.   
  • November 2022: The YEG Ethnic Disparities sub-group is launched at the House of Lords. The results of a survey of 2,200 ethnic minority young people are released. Minister Mims Davies announces her new role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression following YEG calls for greater cross-government accountability and collaboration to tackle youth unemployment|  
  • July 2022: The Ethnic Disparities sub-group commissioned Savanta ComRes to carry out a rapid youth voice survey of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds experiences of navigating the labour market. 
  • March 2022: The Ethnic Disparities sub-group commissioned the Learning & Work Institute to carry out a data analysis project looking at gaps in the data for young minority ethnic groups. 
  • November 2021: Following YEG calls to evaluate Kickstart, the National Audit Office publishes its report |  
  • November 2021: The YEG’s recommendations are largely adopted in the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee’s Skills for Every Young Person report | 
  • August 2021: The YEG called on the Prime Minister to deliver an Opportunity Guarantee for young people | Call covered in The Mirror 
  • July 2021: The YEG launched a new paper at the APPG for Youth Employment providing a framework for the Government to deliver on its Opportunity Guarantee | Levelling Up for Young People: Building an Opportunity Guarantee” (pdf, 2mb) 
  • October 2021: In response to the YEG’s call, The Chancellor extends Kickstart by six months |Covered by the BBC 
  • January and February 2021: The YEG calls for an extension to Kickstart, the government’s flagship youth employment Covid-19 programme, publishing a paper on the  Five reasons to extend ‘Kickstart’ |Call covered by The Independent 
  • September 2020: The YEG launched a recommendations paper |Securing a place for young people in the nation’s economic recovery 
  • July 2020: The Chancellor announces Kickstart in response to the YEG’s calls for urgent support for young people facing a youth unemployment crisis  | Covered by the BBC 
  • June 2020: Following the YEG’s letter to The Times, the Prime Minister commits to an Opportunity Guarantee ensuring youth employment is at the heart of the government’s plan for jobs, including Kickstart, apprenticeship wage subsidies and Youth Hubs | Speech covered in The TES 
  • June 2020: The YEG calls for an Opportunity Guarantee to address the urgent need for opportunities for people to skill up, get a job and have a role in our recovery | Call published in The Times 
  • April 2020: The Youth Employment Group is launched in response to the youth unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic|Covered by The Independent 
  • December 2019: Several youth employment organisations convene at The Prince’s Trust to discuss what realistic targets could we set governments to reduce youth unemployment, with the aim of developing a consensus position. 

        YEG discuss APPG for Youth Employment’s report on mental health


        The February meeting of the Youth Employment Group (YEG) included a debrief on the latest labour market stats, a presentation on the APPG for Youth Employment’s new report on mental health and key findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ research on the early careers of education leavers since the Covid-19 pandemic.

        APPG for Youth Employment report on mental health – Eilish Peters, Policy and Youth Voice Coordinator, Youth Employment UK

        The APPG for Youth Employment was established to bring together parliamentarians to explore how to tackle unemployment and support young people into good quality work. Youth Employment UK provides the secretariat role for the APPG for Youth Employment.

        • The inquiry came out of the Youth Voice Census 2022, which found that young people are currently in a mental health emergency.
        • The inquiry heard oral and written evidence from 17 organisations. You can read the full list here.
        • As part of the inquiry, the APPG for Youth Employment asked what works and what more needs to be done. Whilst there has been some commitment from government on this, including the NHS long-term plan published in 2019, there has been little progress in tackling the root causes of mental ill health.
        • Eilish stated that it’s important to note that the issues facing young people have changed since 2019. Even pre-pandemic, the mental health issues young people were facing were becoming more complex with long waiting lists for key services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
        • Through contributions to the inquiry, economic experts Resolution Foundation said that the impact of mental ill health can now be clearly attributed to economic inactivity which continues to rise.
        • The APPG for Youth Employment made several recommendations in the report, including: setting out a long-term plan for mental health, increased funding for mental health services, accountability and responsibility, early intervention, in-work support and quality work, targeted support for young NEET people, youth voice and more.
        • As a YEG co-chair, Youth Employment UK will be considering how to incorporate the findings from the report into the YEG Vision Paper.
        • You can read the report here.


        Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on the early careers of education leavers since the Covid-19 pandemic – Sam Ray-Chaudhuri, Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies

        Sam presented on the report Are the kids alright? The early careers of education leavers since the Covid-19 pandemic. The broad question the report tries to answer is ‘how has the Covid pandemic affected the labour market outcomes of young people?

        Summary of findings:

        • The pandemic saw significant losses in the time young people spent working which, combined with a deterioration in mental health, is associated with significant scarring and persistent negative effects on earnings of young people and other labour market outcomes.
        • Despite this, the research showed limited evidence of persistent negative effects based on employment and job quality measures currently.
        • Some of the scarring could be yet to materialise, including stunts in the development of skills and networking with people in a cohort, the unknown impacts of working from home early in career and the tick down in vacancies.

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

        The next YEG meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 March, 2-3pm.


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