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Young people remain optimistic about job prospects, KFC and Work Foundation find

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Despite high levels of youth unemployment, British young people remain optimistic about their long-term job prospects, according to research undertaken for restaurant chain KFC by The Work Foundation.

The research of over 2,000 16-24 year-olds found two in three (64%) feel confident about their future job prospects. Almost half (48%) said they feel they are in control of their career and 63% are optimistic they will eventually find their ideal job.

However, this optimism contrasts with many young people’s current experience of work. More than half (53%) said they would like to move to a new job in the next year and only one in three would like to stay in their current industry long-term. Almost a quarter (23%) said they have “no chance” of finding work where they live and 32% are struggling to cope with unemployment.

The findings also suggest employers are letting down young people during the recruitment process. Only 14% of young people say they have ever received useful feedback from an employer after being rejected for a job and 65% said they wanted more support when applying to work.

And over half 53% believe apprenticeships are unpaid positions, suggesting better information is needed from Government.

Better support needed

KFC UK & Ireland managing director Martin Shuker called for “high-quality localised programmes within a national framework”.

“Young people’s job chances are affected by the education they receive, by the Government services in place to support young people into work, and by the attitude and engagement towards them of businesses that must provide employment,” he said.

“The better these three work better together – at the national and local level – the better prepared young people will be as they make the transition from education into work and into meaningful careers.”

Benjamin Reid, co-author of the report and senior researcher at The Work Foundation, also called for more support for young people.

“Despite the current grim labour market – and contrary to some commentators’ cynicism – it shows unequivocally that young people in the UK have high, but also realistic and grounded aspirations for their careers,” he said. “But it is equally clear from the survey that young people require a great deal more support – from business, schools and government working together – if they are to realise those aspirations.”

ONS job figures released today show youth unemployment has fallen again.