Young people unemployment 'at 12-year high' in Wales

Young person
Image caption Researchers said joblessness was losing young people £8.6m in earned income each week

Long-term youth unemployment in Wales is at a 12-year high, says a report for The Prince's Trust.

It said the number of 16-to-24-year-olds on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for 12 months or more has risen nearly five-fold since the recession.

The charity estimates that young people are missing out on more than £8m per week in earned income.

The assembly government said tackling the issue of jobs and training for young people was "a top priority".

A committee of assembly members recently said 16-24-year-olds not in education, employment or training, known as neets, were "being failed".

The report by the Prince's Trust, which gives practical and financial support to young people, found 430 people in that age group had been claiming JSA for 12 months or longer in 2008.

In 2010, the number of young people in that age group claim JSA for that length of time was 2,015.

It is the highest number of young people claiming that figure since 1998, the charity said.

Based on research by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, it said if the lost productivity was equivalent to JSA, then youth unemployment was costing Wales more than £2.6m per week.

If the estimate of lost productivity was equivalent to the average weekly wage for their age group, then youth unemployment in Wales was costing £8.4m a week, the researchers said.

Prince's Trust Cymru director Rick Libbey said: "Youth disadvantage in the UK is a financial burden on us all, but at The Prince's Trust we also see the devastating effects on individuals and communities across Wales.

"Every day at the trust we meet another young person who is caught in a spiral of joblessness and poverty.

"With the right support, these young people can break this cycle and get their lives back on track."

The enterprise and learning committee report called for an assembly government minister to be dedicated to helping the 68,000 young people in Wales not currently in education, employment or training (Neets).

It said: "It is deeply worrying that so many of our young people are still being failed by the system."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "Addressing the issue of young people not in education, employment or training is one of the Welsh Assembly Government's top priorities.


"Despite a challenging settlement from the UK Government, we will prioritise skills training and continue to focus on youth engagement and employment initiatives.

"In our recent draft budget we announced that we would be protecting schools and skills. We will also ensure that Education Maintenance Allowances will continue to exist in Wales.

"We are committed to ensuring that all young people are equipped with the skills they need to secure satisfying careers."

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