NUS brokers a New Deal for work and tackles Youth Employment

Monday 16-03-2015 - 12:28

NUS today launched the ‘Commission on the Future of Work’ report.

The report, which you can access here, is the culmination of written and oral evidence from a diverse range of 12 commissioners – Trade Union Congress to British Chamber of Commerce - brought together by NUS in the first collaborative approach to tackling youth employment issues.

With the aim of helping a new generation of workers to succeed, the report narrows the focus on the current labour market, and considers areas for attention that will help students and young people. From evidence submitted to the Commission five key themes emerged:

  • Wider labour market challenges
  • Education reform
  • Employability of young people
  • Guidance and choices for education and career
  • Connecting partners across government, education providers and employers.

NUS will reconvene the Commission in June, to discuss action around the findings and practical ways to address the themes.

Toni Pearce, NUS President, declared it ‘a myth that the youth unemployment crisis is over’, citing that ‘the number of people under 25 without a job for a year or more leaped from 266,000 in 2012 to 282,000 in September 2013’, according to Labour Force Survey statistics.

Toni added: ‘last week the Chancellor celebrated the moment when household incomes returned to pre-recession levels, but it’s only the over-60s that will have higher incomes this year than in 2007-8, while we in our 20s are still more than 7 per cent worse off’ before reiterating the ‘need to invest in young people to ensure that there is a workforce of the future that will drive the economy’.

In May 2014, NUS established the Future of Work Commission. The Commission issued a call for evidence from students, students' unions and stakeholders from across the private, public and not for profit sectors on the challenges and solutions to youth employment issues.

Michael Davis, Chief Executive, UK Commission for Employment and Skills said: ‘Youth unemployment is falling but securing a foothold into a good career is still harder than it was twenty years ago. This is a structural problem that has been around since before the recession, reflecting a long-term decline in entry level jobs in industries that young people traditionally go into, and fewer opportunities to combine earning, learning and to progress.

‘I’m pleased the Future of Work Commission has brought together such a wide range of stakeholders, as collaboration is the only way we can tackle the youth employment challenge.’

The recommendations identified through submissions have been collated to provide suggested recommendations for government, employers, and educators.

TUC Assistant General Secretary, Paul Nowak, welcomed the suggestion of making young people more aware of their rights: ‘Not only do we need to get more young people into work, but it must be decent jobs with good pay and conditions. Young people often know far less about their rights than older workers, so it’s important that they are taught their rights and know how to access trade unions and all the workplace support and benefits that unions provide.’

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive CIPD said: ‘Employers, policy makers and the education sector have begun to wake up to the challenges faced by young people during the transition from education to work. As the professional body for HR, we are pleased to be working with the NUS and other leading organisations to tackle this important issue.’

Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director, British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Youth unemployment is still considerably higher than the adult unemployment rate, and at the same time too many UK businesses are reporting skills shortages. Chambers of Commerce across Britain are working to bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of business, so that young people can acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed’. 

Last year NUS released its Students and Work research that showed:

  • Students and graduates are more pessimistic than optimistic about the job market. Almost four in ten were pessimistic (39 per cent), while almost three in ten were optimistic (28 per cent)
  • Students and graduates think that most of the responsibility for improving the job market lies with employers. 55 per cent think big employers are responsible and 33 per cent think small and medium sized employers are responsible.
  • Students and graduates were most in favour of travel discounts (e.g. Graduate / Jobseekers' Railcard, and cheaper public transport costs) as a policy suggestion that would improve the job market for young people (85 per cent said this was a good idea), followed by increasing the Minimum Wage to the Living Wage (78 per cent) and having job placements available on all courses (77 per cent).



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