CBI report finds Government's Youth Contract has helped young people find jobs but says that more remains to be done
The Government's Youth Contract has led to more job opportunities for young people but more must be done to provide them with the necessary skills and training, the head of a leading employers' organisation has said.
John Cridland, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), also warned that focussing only on growth will not be enough to bring down youth unemployment, and urged businesses and the Government to work together more closely to tackle the issue.
He added: "Youth unemployment has been rising since 2004, so it's clear that a return to growth alone will not be enough to tackle the underlying causes of the problem.
"Today's young people are entering a complex world, and are making choices from the age of 13 that will define what they will be able to do with their lives. We ask a lot more of them in making their way in the world than was asked of previous generations.
"Unemployment blights lives. Imbalances in the economy - and between regions - mount up further, and the costs of those millions of people being out of work run into billions of pounds each and every year."
The CBI assessment of the Youth Contract also found that the scheme would be more effective if the range of initiatives were made simpler for recruiters and employers
Andy Powell, Director of the Unlocking Britain's Potential Campaign, said: "John Cridland is right to say that Britain's education system needs reform so that our young people are better prepared for the world of work.
"We need to address the over-emphasis on academic exam results, which means too many young people are at risk of being excluded from work and employers are facing a serious skills shortage - preventing them from competing in global markets, and stunting economic growth.
"It is vital that employers and policy makers work together to reform our education system, so that we can help our young people realise their potential."
"The result is sharp divides between the haves and have-nots, and across generational lines. As employers we can and should step up to give all of our young people the support they deserve."
Copyright Press Association 2012