Young people trying to find work are being failed by nationally run job schemes designed to help them, council leaders have claimed.
A report from the Local Government Association (LGA) found that almost 50,000 fewer young people are getting assistance from national job schemes now than three years ago – despite long-term youth unemployment remaining high. The LGA said it had calculated that the number of young people starting one of 35 nationally run skills or employment programmes had dropped by eight per cent compared to three years before.
It added that between them, the schemes spanned 13 different age boundaries and cost of £15bn a year. However the Government claimed the report was out of date and didn’t take into account results from the Work Programme published in June which showed that more than 30,000 people aged 18 to 24 had already found work and stayed there for at least six months.
The LGA said that government departments should adopt a common system for providing information on their programmes and added that local authorities should be given the tools to scrutinise government-funded provision and ensure it is meeting the needs of young people.
“It’s clear that nationally driven attempts to tackle youth unemployment aren’t working,” said David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.
“While there are a number of good initiatives, government has side-lined councils and incentivised a series of services like schools, colleges and third sector providers to work in isolation of each other, with no clarity on who is responsible for leading the offer to young people on the ground.”
But a Government spokesperson said: “This report fails to recognise that despite youth unemployment being a big challenge for a decade, the level has fallen by 38,000 since last year, and the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen for 14 consecutive months.
“We’re not complacent about the challenge in tackling this problem and through Jobcentre Plus we’re already working locally with businesses and councils to help young people into work. Our Youth Contract alone will offer help to nearly 500,000 young people over three years.”