Reports published on youth employment

The National Audit office has published a report about the Government's Kickstart programme. It found that the Department for Work and Pensions was not able to say how much of the economic value of Kickstart jobs is additional.

The number of Kickstart starts is now expected to be significantly lower than 250,000 by December 2021. By 1 November 2021, 96,700 people had started Kickstart jobs. The Department asks its work coaches to target Kickstart at those most likely to benefit, but it does not know how effective this has been. There has been no data collected about participation rates for disabled job seekers.

The report concludes:

"The Department developed and launched Kickstart quickly in the summer of 2020 to prevent the pandemic causing a significant rise in long-term youth unemployment and a scarring effect on young people’s opportunities later in life. In the event, the labour market conditions have developed in ways that were not then expected. Repeated lockdowns meant many of the young people who started to claim Universal Credit at the start of the pandemic were on Universal Credit for over a year before the scheme could get going at scale. As the programme did begin to scale up, the economy was reopening, which increased the risk of government subsidising jobs that would have been created anyway. The Department decided to continue the scheme on the basis that it could have a positive impact for the large number of young unemployed."


Separately, the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee has published its report on youth unemployment, Skills for every young person. 

The report's main conclusions and recommendations are:

  • There are skills gaps and shortages in existing and emerging sectors, damaging productivity. The Government must develop a long-term national plan for identifying, anticipating, measuring and addressing skills gaps and shortages with a focus on the needs of the digital and green economy. To ensure young people are equipped with essential knowledge and the technical, cultural and creative skills, the Government must recalibrate the compulsory components of the national curriculum and performance measures, putting skills development at the centre.
  • Access to high quality careers education is improving but equal provision remains patchy. The Government must make CEIAG a compulsory element of the curriculum in all schools from Key Stage 1 to 4 alongside religious education, and sex and relationships education, as part of a Career Guidance Guarantee.
  • Further Education has been undervalued and significantly underfunded. The Government must devise a new method of funding for FE, determined by student demand, and students accessing the Lifetime Skills Guarantee at levels 2 and 3 should attract automatic in-year funding determined by a tariff. This would ensure the availability of places, and result in extra funding so that institutions can recruit high quality teachers and obtain the latest industry-standard equipment.
  • Apprenticeships are in short supply, and current funding mechanisms tend to benefit older workers. The Government must require that any employer receiving funding from the apprenticeship levy must spend at least two thirds of that funding on people who begin apprenticeships at levels 2 and 3 before the age of 25.
  • Groups including Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, those disadvantaged by socio-economic background, and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) face significant barriers to work. The Government must launch an Education and Workplace Race Equality Strategy, focussing on removing barriers including mandating regular collection of data. It must ensure every disadvantaged young person has access to tailored careers guidance.
  • Youth unemployment policy is created in silos, resulting in a confusing landscape of initiatives and a lack of accountability at the top. The Government must appoint an independent Young People's Commissioner to be the voice of youth aged 16 to 24.