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Young people discouraged from working

More than 250,000 18-to-24-year-olds have been put off working for life, according to research from City & Guilds.

It found 30% of young people don't feel they'll be able to meet their career ambitions, while 9% - equivalent to 227,000 people - said they never intend to start working at all. 

For the young people that do intend to enter the working world, many were unenthusiastic about their chances of getting a job.

Of those surveyed, 43% said their education hadn't properly equipped them with the skills they need to get the job they want. A further 29% claimed they struggled to get interviews, and 19% said there weren't any jobs available in their local area.

Young people in the workforce:

Under appreciated young workers on brink of exodus

University leavers not "prepared for work" yet remain most preferred recruitment option by employers

Graduate job market slows with inflation

Kirstie Donnelly, CEO of City and Guilds, said businesses need to work harder to make room for young talent to help with skills shortages in the workforce.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “A strong pipeline of young talent is crucial to business success and, more broadly, economic growth – not only because young people are the future of our workforce, but also because they bring diverse, new ideas into businesses.

“Now, with businesses facing critical skills shortages and with the UK entering a recession, it’s more important than ever for businesses to look at creating pathways for young talent to come into the business. Especially with our research having identified the many perceived barriers young people are facing.

“Those businesses that focus on recruiting or training up a cohort of younger workers will come out stronger on the other side – with a skilled and loyal workforce. But those that don’t risk falling behind competition – whether that’s due to a lack of talent or diverse thinking.”

Overall, 13% of young people surveyed by City & Guilds are currently unemployed (not in work or studying) and a further 3% are economically inactive. This equates to around 859,000 young adults out of work and education in the UK.

Many felt the government could be doing more to support out of work young people - only 26% of young people thought the current government aid was sufficient.

Donnelly added: “If we don’t open doors for young people from all backgrounds to enter the labour market, and invest in their skills, we are losing out on all of that of talent and creativity. And ultimately, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. Young people should be a critical part of the UK’s recovery story and harnessing their potential will be essential if we are to come out of the other side of another recession with a brighter future ahead.

"Crucially, if we don’t fix this now, we risk storing up more problems for generations to come, exacerbating productivity shortfalls and social inequalities in the long term."

City & Guilds surveyed 5,000 people aged 18 - 24 between October and November 2022.