Reversing the trend in youth unemployment is key to drive economic recovery, says the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB). This is in response to the Chancellor’s announcement today which neglected to help young people who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said: “Whilst we welcome plans outlined today in the Jobs Support Scheme, we are disappointed that the Chancellor did not announce more to help young people take steps into the labour market. Covid-19 has hit young people the hardest and the Government has today missed an opportunity to offer much needed support. Without assistance, young people will continue to face unemployment, and employers will lose out on the innovative, talented workforce they crucially need to recover post Covid. According to recent ONS stats, between August 2019 and March 2020, those aged 18-24 years experienced the largest decrease in employment and largest increases in unemployment of any age group. Indeed, there were 156,000 fewer employed people aged 16-24 in this time period. We need decisive action from the Government in order to reverse this alarming decline.”

Marshall concluded: “Today’s announcement offers little clarity or reassurance to these young people. The Chancellor has a duty to do more to help businesses hire more young people, including apprentices and interns. The Government is uniquely placed to address plummeting apprenticeship and placement opportunities. Offering any firm that hires a new young apprentice aged 16 to 24 £2,000 simply does not go far enough. To support those businesses that are continuing to hire apprenticeships at this unprecedented time of uncertainty, the Government should introduce a 50 per cent wage subsidy for people under the age of 25 undertaking an apprenticeship or work placement. Urgent action needs to be taken to reverse this worrying trend, and to help the young people who want to play a crucial role in our economic recovery.”