Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

London Youth calls for overhaul of youth strategies which are failing to support hundreds of thousands of young people into full time, sustained employment

London Youth today launched pivotal research – Hidden in Plain Sight – shining a light on the hundreds of thousands of young Londoners who are currently ‘hidden’ from the capital’s economy.

‘Hidden’ young Londoners are typically aged 18-25, are not engaged in employment, education or training and not receiving any welfare benefits. A staggering 480k young people are estimated to be ‘hidden’ nationally each year. This is not only detrimental to their wellbeing and future prospects, but also results in a £440m loss of revenue from potential income tax/national insurance contributions.

London Youth is calling for an overhaul of youth strategies and a tripartite approach between Government, business and youth sectors to fund youth-centric employment initiatives and re-engage these young people.

Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Chief Executive of London Youth said: “Through our work on Talent Match London we know that youth organisations play a vital role in supporting the work of our statutory employment agencies with young people. That’s because they are best placed within local communities across London and trusted by the young people seeking support to navigate their transition from education into work.

The inclusion and funding of the youth sector as an equal partner to Government and the business sector is absolutely critical to the success of future youth-centric employment initiatives. Our research provides clear guidance on how we can all better support ‘hidden’ young people to overcome existing barriers and is essential reading for all”.

Highlights from our research:

  • Unemployed young people who do not access welfare benefits or statutory support are often excluded from employability programmes because they are too qualified or are in part time/insecure employment, such as zero hours contracts.
  • Many ‘hidden’ young people are closer to the job market than we might imagine having achieved good GCSE qualifications and continued with their education beyond 16.
  • Often ‘hidden’ young people were also facing complex and challenging circumstances beyond their control, such as caring responsibilities or mental ill health, meaning that appropriate support/interventions were also needed to prevent a negative impact on their employment outcomes.

James Ashall, Programme Director, Movement to Work, said: “Current numbers show that we need to reform the way we provide support to hidden young Londoners. As a voluntary coalition of the UK’s most progressive  employers across the private, public and third sector, supported by both the Government and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Movement to Work supports the report’s findings and they further support us in our objectives to provide work placement opportunities designed to reach out to disadvantaged young people. We have seen first-hand success in our model – providing over 65,000 placements to date, with well over 50% of participants completing placements moving into employment or returning to education. We encourage UK employers to increase cross-sector collaboration and work together to provide the support and opportunities for our society’s hardest to reach young people.”