Last updated: 13.02.15

Work experience 'critical for youth employment'

Work experience is crucial for young people looking to get a foot on the career ladder. But according to a new report, it is only offered by employers in certain parts of the country, meaning young people are facing a postcode lottery when trying to find a suitable placement.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills' (UKCES) report, entitled Catch 16-24: Youth Employment Challenge, revealed that one in five employers across the country say that they could never be persuaded to offer work experience, even though 66 per cent of businesses believe it is important for recruiting new staff.

Government figures have shown that of the 1.9 million unemployed people in the UK, 40 per cent are aged under 25 - significantly higher than for other age groups.

The Humber sees the highest rate of unemployed 16 to 25-year-olds in England, with only 29 per cent of employers providing work experience opportunities for young people to enhance their skills.

Liverpool, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, on the other hand, have significantly lower levels of youth unemployment and a greater proportion of work experience opportunities.

Michael Davis, chief executive of UKCES, said: "Young people are already facing increasingly difficult conditions finding their way into the workplace, and the news that these factors can be further compounded based simply on location is disheartening.

"Contact with the world of work should be a component of all young people's educational experience, and all schools and colleges should have links with at least one local business.

"By working collaboratively, taking one simple step and engaging with young people, employers, education providers and those taking their first steps into work can all benefit."
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