The Action for Jobs progress report has asked for the Government to boost links betweens schools and businesses in local communities and invest in more apprenticeships.
Director-general of the CBI John Cridland urged businesses and government to work together to give people the skills and opportunities they need to get jobs and warned that a return to growth will not by itself solve the root causes of youth unemployment.
Speaking alongside deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, David Miliband and leading business figures at the CBI’s Action for Jobs summit yesterday, Mr Cridland said: “Youth unemployment has been rising since 2004, so it is clear that a return to growth alone will not be enough to tackle the underlying causes of the problem.”
Held at the Royal Society in London, the summit marks the publishing of the progress report, which says that while headway has been made on a £1bn ‘youth contract’, the range of available initiatives must be made simpler for employers.
The CBI chief said: “The Youth Contract recognises the work each employer is doing for the wider community and gives them back more than National Insurance for the first part of employment.
But he added: “The next challenge is making it simple for firms to get involved. This is an area where the Youth Contract needs to be made more successful. Many employers phoning the helpline in the early days didn’t receive the advice they needed.”
Director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marchall, commented that businesses want to hire young people but economic uncertainty combined with poor skills and a lack of experience makes it too much of a risk.
“The Youth Contract is a good short-term solution to reduce these risks, but we have in the past argued for a wider reach and a bigger budget. The government could go further,” Mr Marchall said.