Urgent help needed for London’s jobless young people


New report reveals that there is a ‘Youth Jobs Gap’ between rich and poor children in London, leaving poorer young people locked out of the labour market

Young people from a disadvantaged background in London are not getting the support they need to succeed in the capital’s thriving jobs market, according to a ground-breaking report, The Employment Gap in London, from London Councils and Impetus, published today.

Despite the opportunities on their doorstep, young Londoners are more likely to be out of education, employment or training than the national average. This has been a consistent trend for over a decade, suggesting that a new approach to post-16 skills in the capital is long overdue.

The Employment Gap in London examines government education and employment data to provide new insights into those young people who move on from school into education, employment or training, and those who don’t (NEETs). London Councils’ and Impetus’ research shows that:

• 25% of London’s young people are low qualified, which means they’re not getting five GCSE passes or equivalent qualifications by the age of 18, which in turn places them at higher risk of unemployment.
• London has the lowest take up of apprenticeships of any region: just 4% of young Londoners started apprenticeships compared to the national average of 7%.

The Employment Gap in London reveals the extent to which young people from poorer families progress into work varies hugely in London. It provides a powerful rationale for the UK’s skills and employment system to take local issues into account to meet the diverse needs of young people in the capital.

There are successes in London – 21% of young people from London going to university are from a disadvantaged background, compared to 9% nationally. But in spite of that, in some areas young people have a better chance of getting a job if they’re from a better-off background than if they get good qualifications.

Impetus’ Benchmarking Resurgo paper, also published today, illustrates how effective and targeted support for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds changes lives.

The Resurgo Spear programme works with young people who are not in work or education to prepare them to seek, get and keep a job. Funding and support for programmes that are able to demonstrate a clear impact, as Resurgo has done, must be made available if we are to end the decade of higher than average NEET rates in the capital.

Cllr Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member for Skills & Employment, said:

“Our new report shows that the post-16 skills system is not doing enough to support young Londoners as they make the leap from school to further study or work.

“We must address London’s consistently high NEET rates, low participation in apprenticeships and low qualification levels or risk another generation of young people being left behind.

“This is a wake-up call for everyone involved in London’s skills system, from national Government to London boroughs, local schools and colleges. We need some radical new approaches.

“London boroughs are well placed to lead the creation of a more flexible local skills offer, but we need the powers and resources to make a real impact.”