Around 50 per cent of the students leaving the University of York at the end of this year will struggle to find a job within the first three months of graduating, research from the Local Government Association (LGA) suggests.
The coalition government has attempted, as part of the Big Society, to address the generic problem of unemployment through their flagship Work Programme. However, 47 per cent of the charities that run the scheme have predicted it will fail within six months according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Structurally the scheme is flawed as only one third of the people involved in the project have been given work contracts. Financially, half of charities involved have declared it is not viable because they are currently being forced to reach into their own financial reserves to prop up the scheme, resulting in it barely helping those who are not in work.
The Labour Party has been highlighting the flaws of the Work Programme for a significant amount of time, but as of yet the government shows no sign of backing down. Back in July of this year, Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said, “Chaos is engulfing the government’s back-to-work scheme.”
As a result, Labour has developed a scheme that, on the surface, will be far more effective at tackling new graduate unemployment. This is because it understands the core problem of unemployment as a whole – young people with a history of poor education and training.
This claim is supported by recent research which depicts regional variation in unemployment. Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest boroughs in London, with many rough schools, had the lowest proportion of new graduates in full-time employment at 36.3 per cent.
Labour’s scheme, the ‘Youth Jobs Taskforce,’ which has brought together entrepreneurs, academics and trade unionists aiming to get more new graduates and young unemployed people in jobs, looks far more promising.
The government should take heed in the statistics produced by the LGA, as it is struggling to deal with the problem of youth unemployment, including recent graduates. It is evident that it should look at new ways of encouraging young people into work.