Crisis deepens for UK’s young…(Amerika, Too!…Revolution On!!)
One person in five in 16-to-24 age group is unemployed as record numbers to miss out on university places
By Sean O’Grady, Economics Editor and Richard Garner, Education Editor
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Record numbers of A-level candidates are expected to end up without a university place today – as the latest unemployment numbers underline the bleak prospects of them finding a job.
More than one in five of Britain’s young people (those aged 16 to 24) are out of work and almost 100,000 of them have been on the dole for two years or more.
The youth unemployment rate rose to 20.2 per cent this spring, according to the Office for National Statistics – one of the highest in the European Union.
There are 949,000 16 to 24-year-olds without work, a rise of 15,000 on the last quarter, and approaching levels last seen in the 1980s. Overall, unemployment rose by an unexpectedly high 39,000 in the three months to June this year, to top almost 2.5 million. The number of jobless women benefit claimants rose by 15,600 to 512,700, the highest since 1996.
The youth unemployment situation will be compounded by the number of teenagers who will not get into university this year. The number applying has reached an all-time high of 669,956 as candidates try to beat the rise in fees of up to £9,000 a year, coming in September 2012. Today’s A-level results will likely see about 250,000 people chasing just over 40,000 places in clearing, meaning a record 210,000 will miss out. Many of them will face a dilemma over whether to hunt for scarce jobs, volunteer as unpaid interns, take gap years or seek university places overseas.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, described the Government’s fees policy as “a clumsy disaster”.
The increase in youth unemployment is especially worrying because of the strong evidence that if young people can’t establish themselves in the world of work early in their careers they will find it much more difficult later on – the “lost-generation” phenomenon that marked out the 1980s, when youth unemployment was even higher than today.