Earning and learning improves youth employment prospects, says study

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Countries where a large number of those in education also work have lower levels of unemployment, a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests.

The paper, Precarious Futures? Youth employment in an international context, compares youth unemployment across several countries with the proportion of students in part-time work.

In the UK only 22% of 15- to 19-year-olds 'earn and learn', compared to 44% in Australia. Subsequently, the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds who are classed as NEET is 19% here, higher than 12% of Australians of the same age.

Youth employment in the UK remains three times higher than overall unemployment. O2 HR director Ann Pickering told HR magazine the fact that it remains so high is "perverse".

She also warned employers risk missing out on skills if they do not give young people a chance.

"As digital natives, young people are perfectly placed to fill this gap, so it’s absurd that they are still being excluded from the workplace," she said. "Businesses, big and small, can all help get more young people into the workplace, whether that’s through quality work experience or apprenticeships, otherwise we risk missing out on the skills of a generation."

Nestle CEO and chairman Fiona Kendrick added that the youth unemployment challenge in the country is "fairly unique".

"Too many young people aren’t making a successful transition from education into work," she said. "They risk falling in and out of short-term jobs, or in some cases not entering the job market at all and losing the opportunity to develop careers."

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