Dr Phillip Lee MP: Youth unemployment "moving in right direction"By Dr Phillip Lee
September 05, 2012
Youth unemployment is clearly an issue of concern for some of my constituents.
The Coalition has had the extraordinarily arduous task of reversing this country’s neglect of the young and rightly regards it as one of its key priorities.
I believe that action has to be taken before the UK suffers a lost generation.
The latest youth unemployment figures show a 4,000 reduction nationally, with good signs for further reductions in following months.
In July we did well against our European competitors, with youth unemployment in Spain at 52.9 per cent, in France at 23.4 per cent and the UK on 21.7 per cent – we’re on the right track.
Perhaps this is because the Coalition is trying to change the negative attitude towards apprenticeships and work experience schemes, with one of the Coalition’s flagship policies, the Youth Contract, offering nearly 500,000 opportunities for the young so far.
The other area where the Coalition has been changing Labour’s failed approach is with access to tertiary education.
I do not believe that university should be regarded as the only route to success.
Labour certainly regarded it as the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ for youths, ensuring almost 40 per cent went to one.
Compared to other nations, this is too high.
In Canada, Italy and Spain it’s less and in Germany, where youth unemployment is at a mere eight per cent, just 19 per cent attended.
I believe the Coalition was right to scrap Labour’s target of ensuring 50 per cent of our young go to university.
The focus is on apprenticeships and we’ve succeeded here by creating more than 200,000 of them so far.
With more than 40 per cent of all job vacancies going to those aged over 50, employees clearly regard experience as essential.
That is why I commend companies in my constituency such as Data Systems Computers in Crowthorne and Fujitsu Consulting Ltd in
Bracknell for taking on apprentices.
Last year in my constituency alone, 780 people starting an apprenticeship; an increase of 270 on the previous year – hopefully
there are many more to come in following years.
Research from the intergenerational Foundation shows that youth competency in the UK is regarded as the fourth worst in
We are also regarded as the worst European country for showing respect towards youths.
Without doubt improving our education system is of paramount importance which is why I fully support Michael Gove’s approach.
Furthermore, the Coalition’s direction on changing the negative perception of young people is incredibly important.
We should also remember that more than 50 per cent of the NHS budget goes on the over-65s and with the UK’s ageing population, the cost of caring for the elderly could treble by 2050.
We need to ensure our younger generations are adequately trained and have secure employment in order to provide the wealth required to care for their elders.
Clearly, there is much more to be done if we’re to make certain the UK does not lose such an important generation.