Tackling City Region’s youth unemployment

Apprentice machinist
Apprentice machinist

A review into the support available to help young people into work across Liverpool City Region has been completed. The review findings were endorsed at the City Region Cabinet meeting.

The review was commissioned by the Liverpool City Region’s Employment and Skills Board, agreed with the Government through the Liverpool City Region Deal, due to the high levels of youth unemployment in the Liverpool City Region in early 2012. At this time, the number of young people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance for more than six months remained high at 7,170.

The Board committed to halve the level of long-term youth unemployment within three years – from 7,170 in March 2012 to 3,585 in March 2015. After just one year, the City Region has achieved a 34% reduction in long-tem youth unemployment, a reduction of 1,205 claimants.

As part of the review, the Youth Unemployment Task Force, made up of young people and businesses in the region, was established to understand the issues and suggest ways to address them.

Key findings from the review were:

• The majority of young people (94%) seek employment via the internet, with newspaper advertising the second most popular choice (47%).
• Almost three-quarters of business survey respondents stated they had employed somebody aged 18 to 24 in the last two years – 62% stated it was to grow their existing workforce and 56% to create skills that will help businesses plan for replacement demand.
• 72% of businesses stated that they were looking to employ a young person in the next two years.
• A lack of training, qualifications and work experience were barriers to employment for young people.
• Preparation for work needs to start early in school with in-depth, relevant careers advice with appropriate work experience placements.

Following the review, an action plan has been developed which is progressing a number of key findings. This includes maximising Talent Match – a national investment of up to £100 million over five years to deliver creative ways to help long-term unemployed young people find work or start their own enterprise – creating more work experience opportunities, businesses to have a more prominent role in careers education, review financial incentives through reinvesting savings and removing restrictions and limitations which discourage career development and growth.

Stephen Roberts, Vice Chair of the Employment and Skills Board said “Youth unemployment has a significant effect on our communities. The work of the Task Force has already delivered improvements, which we will now continue to build on. We are on target to achieve our pledge of halving youth unemployment across the City Region, which has been possible due to listening to and acting upon the views and experiences of young people and business across the City Region.”

The Youth Unemployment Task Force was championed by Cllr Pat Hackett, Cabinet Member for the Economy at Wirral Council and Sue Riley, District Manager for Department for Work and Pension on behalf of the Employment and Skills Board

Cllr Hackett said: “It is vital to support our young people and help them to get a foothold in the labour market. The commissioning of the Task Force was an innovative and bold move by the Employment and Skills Board in directly seeking the views of the region’s young people and the businesses who employ them. It has been a pleasure to support them, and indeed an eye opener. I would like to personally thank everybody who took part for their time, effort and commitment and for sharing their views and experiences so readily, which at times, as a local councillor, has been a challenging listen.”

He added: “This report is only the beginning and now the hard work really begins as we take on board the findings and recommendations to truly make a difference to the lives of young people in our city region.”

Sue Riley, said: “Throughout the review, we ensured that the views of a cross section of young people and businesses was captured. The results of this review will help to accelerate improvements within the City Region, helping to make a different to the lives of young people and support our businesses to thrive.”