'100,000s young people left behind' because of unemployment

Matty Finnigan

"Long-term youth unemployment is a national disgrace that can leave a life-time scar."

The words of one of the UK's most influential businessman, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) John Cridland.

He said parents, teachers and businesses must take responsibility for tackling the problem.

Figures from the ONS show there are 188,000 18 to 24-year-olds who've been unemployed for more than 12 months.

While that figure is down 10% in four years it is still lagging behind the fall in long-term unemployment across all other ages - down nearly 25% over the same period.

'Not enough jobs'

Matty Finnigan, 23, from Lowestoft has been unemployed for around three years.

He's had money worries, suffered from anxiety and lost confidence because of it.

But he has managed to turn himself around in the last few months after going to charity Tomorrow's People for help.

"There [aren't] enough jobs to go around," he says.

"Everybody is fighting for the same job and if you haven't got qualifications or even experience you're always going to be looked over.

"So some people do find it harder to get a job than other people.

"It's definitely depressing, it takes a toll on your self-esteem, confidence and motivation but you have to get to a point where you have to push forward... to better yourself."

John Cridland quote

Matty's still unemployed but much more hopeful of finding work after doing voluntary work and enrolling on a series of training programmes.

Along with apprenticeships they are two of the things John Cridland says are vital to try to ensure the cycle of long term youth unemployment is broken.

"We've a 10-year story here and I'm afraid, each year, there's a group of youngsters leaving school who, not always, but often, don't have the skills for working life," he explains.

"Each summer for every 10 people that leave school I think three have been failed by the system.

"The responsibility is everybody's responsibility, its parents... it's schools... it's businesses."

Matty at the job centre

He says there is a risk people who end up long term unemployed in their late teens and early 20s could face a life time of unemployment.

"I think there's a huge danger that after 12 months of unemployment that you're doomed to a life of inactivity," he says.

"My message to those young people is don't give up."

Esther McVey
Image caption Employment Minister Esther McVey says long-tern youth unemployment's going down

The government has launched several programmes over the last few years aimed at tackling the problem - these include the Work Programme and the Youth Contract.

While some question how successful these programmes have actually been, Employment Minister Esther McVey says they have definitely helped.

"Any young person who hasn't got a job is disappointing and it's sad and we've got to work with them," she says.

"But what I can say is youth unemployment is coming down and long-term youth unemployment is coming down."

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