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Change of approach needed to tackle youth unemployment, says BCC skills adviser

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Young people need to be taught a broader range of skills to succeed in the workplace, according to the employment and skills adviser at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), John Wastnage (pictured).

He said even though high grades should be celebrated, youth unemployment shouldn't be overlooked.

Figures published this week by the Office of National Statistics revealed an increase of 15,000 in the number of unemployed young people in the three months to June 2013, compared to the previous three months.

The figure now stands at 973,000. This means 19.2% of people under the age of 25 were not in work in the last quarter.

Wastnage said if the UK is going to tackle youth unemployment more careers education is needed in schools.

"There needs to be more contact between pupils and businesses via work experience placements and employer visits, and for students need to have basic business skills when they leave school," he said.

Trade union group, Unite, said despite a small drop in overall unemployment figures this week, the fall is hiding a "lost generation" of workers.

"There can be no crowing and champagne cork popping in Downing Street," said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

"It is too soon to start proclaiming `recovery' especially given that youth unemployment and the working world is now pockmarked by low-waged, insecure employment."