Youth unemployment has been rising significantly as a result of the economic downturn caused by the government restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020 youth unemployment was 14.5 per cent, an increase of almost a third since the start of 2020. There is a substantial risk that youth unemployment will increase greatly in 2021 as more businesses fail, particularly those in hospitality and retail which employ large numbers of young people, and other businesses reduce staff as the furlough scheme ends and cut back on recruitment.
Given this worrying situation for young people it is essential that they can easily access information on jobs and training opportunities. The problem at the moment is that the information on jobs and training is in many different places rather than in one easily accessible internet portal dedicated to young people. Most of the current government guidance instructs young people to look for relevant information at a Jobcentre. But many young people will not read formal gocernment guidance and whilst Jobcentres do important work they may, for young people, be associated with older people who are out of work and not places young people would go to either in person or online.
So the challenge is to make young people feel that the difficulties they face in finding employment and receiving relevant information and support (particularly if they lose their current job) are recognised and that all the information that can help them on jobs and training opportunities is easily accessible in an internet portal dedicated to young people. A proposed solution to this challenge is set out in Part 2 of this submission.