Youth unemployment hits 1 million

25 November 2011

Unemployment among young people in the UK has reached 1 million, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Reaching a 15-year high, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work numbered 1.02 million between July and September this year.

The government has responded by citing the effect of the eurozone debt crisis on the decline in the jobs market.

Employment minister Chris Grayling stated: “These figures are bad news. They are, I’m afraid, the consequence of what we’re seeing in the eurozone.”

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert agreed that the problems facing young people are a reflection of the Eurozone crisis.

Measures are, however, being taken: “We are determined to tackle youth unemployment and we have put in place a comprehensive series of initiatives, working across Whitehall and with outside experts, designed to help young people to get into the labour market.

“These plans will see 350,000 young people helped in the next two years alone.”

In order to ease the burden on the UK’s young people, the National Union for Students responded by proposing “a further increase in apprenticeships, the restoration of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the protection of the Care-to-Learn support” and “properly enforcing minimum wage legislation for internships”.

With one in five young people out of work, the NUS considered these measures as “common sense actions that would have real and immediate effects”.

Julian Huppert MP pointed out that “there will be around 150,000 work experience or work academy places over the next two years to help young people”, while apprenticeship schemes, such as the 370 programmes running in Cambridge, have “seen great success”.

Gordon Chesterman, Director of the University Careers Service, affirmed that: “Amongst the Russell Group universities, we have one of the lowest unemployment rates”.

Nevertheless, Cambridge students are still employable, but must engage with the Careers Service. “We’ve seen a strong demand from employers across all sectors, large and small companies, local and international…most employers who approach Cambridge wish to recruit students of any degree discipline.”

Youth unemployment in the UK may be forcing graduates to look elsewhere, often abroad.

Charles Lichfield, MML finalist at Jesus College, commented: “Yes, I am concerned…but I’m not really thinking about it”. He added: ‘it is quite easy for MML students to rely on being able to go abroad.’ One possibility is to go to Moscow, he said. “There’s no glimpse of a recession there. It’s a case of ‘crisis? What crisis?'”

The figures reflect a concerning picture in Cambridge. Recent statistics show that last month the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased by 30 to 1,791.

However, unemployment still stands at 1.9% in the city – a figure remarkably lower than the national average of 3.8%.