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Vocational training is ‘key to fight youth unemployment’

Vocational training is ‘key to fight youth unemployment’

Putting vocational and academic study on the same level is vital to reduce youth unemployment, according to a new report.

Youth unemployment has been one of the most serious issues stemming from the financial crisis. Though joblessness among young people is falling rapidly, as it is across the UK, unemployment figures for this age group have remained higher than they are in the UK as a whole.

According to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy and Research (IPPR), that is because the key lies in furnishing young people with the right skills to pursue their careers.


In IPPR’s Remember the Young Ones, the think tank argues that economic recovery will not automatically bring youth unemployment down on its own, but it could with the help of vocational training.

Rather than simply being an issue of economics or finance, the problem is actually structural – in countries across Europe where youth unemployment is noticeably lower, vocational training and careers advice are quite different to the UK.

“The experience of young people across Europe shows a strong workplace-based vocational education and training system, with high employer involvement, contributes more to a smoother transition from education to work and a low rate of youth unemployment than anything else,” explains Tony Dolphin, chief economist at IPPR.

To address the problem, IPPR states that the vocational route into employment needs to be just as clear as the academic route, with high quality training and education at its heart. That would improve the status of vocational training, while more employer input would ensure the courses give young people the skills they need to succeed in their roles.


Careers guidance should also be revamped, IPPR argues, ensuring that specialist careers advisers give pupils the guidance and education they need, rather than leaving it to teachers. They would also work with employers to get them involved in school careers events.

Youth unemployment is still falling at an impressive rate, even though it is lagging behind the rest of the labour market. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 13 August show that in the three months to June, the number of young people without a job fell by 102,000 to 767,000 – the largest drop since records began over two decades ago.

Overall, the unemployment rate in the UK fell to 6.4 per cent across the quarter – down by 0.1 percentage point from the previous three-month period and the lowest since late 2008. With a total of 30.6 million people in work, the job market’s recovery seems to be getting stronger.

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