• One million young people are starting November without a job – and thousands more will lose their jobs after furlough extension ends on December 2
  • Research for the Alliance for Full Employment predicts we need 1.5 m places to get all young people into work or training
  • Further Lockdown increases the need for a Prospects Protection Plan for every unemployed young person

The Alliance For Full Employment (AFFE) is today (Monday) launching a petition on Parliament’s website asking the government to create a fully funded jobs guarantee scheme to cover all young people in need of work.

The Petition has been lodged by, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Metro Mayors Steve Rotherham, Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis and Jamie Driscoll who, along with Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, created the Alliance for Full Employment.
They believe the government has a “moral duty” to future proof the job prospects of young people from the damage the Covid-19 pandemic is causing to the UK jobs market.

They want government to upscale existing infrastructure to bring job support and training for work to the million 16-24 years olds who are now in need of help.

And they want government to upgrade its new Kickstart programme which is currently only offering help to those who have been out of work or education for six months – meaning those who have been thrown out of work this month may not be able to gain support until May next year.

Big Issue Editor, Paul McNamee, head of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, Daily Mirror Associate, Editor Kevin Maguire, former editor of The Observer, Will Hutton, former head of the National Union Teachers, Baroness Christine Blower, are supporting signatories on the petition.

Former Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, Baron Kenneth Baker, a cabinet minister In Margaret Thatcher’s government, economist Robert Skidelsky and faith leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Roman Catholic archbishops, the Moderator of the Church Of Scotland, the Head of The Methodist Mission, senior rabbis and Islamic scholars have all welcomed AFFE’s focus on youth unemployment.

The Metro Mayors of England’s Northern City Regions and Mr Brown now want the public to have an opportunity to show the widespread public support for keeping Britain’s young people working.
The petition needs 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate on providing government support. By bringing public support behind the AFFE plan to upscale existing services to keep the young in work, it is hoped the government will see there is a solution to the problem of youth unemployment before them and act sooner.

To protect prospects of young people AFFE is recommending:

  • Provision of quality work experience – not a return to the Youth Opportunity Programmes (YOPs) or Youth Training Schemes of the 1980s
  • Training geared to new jobs, like in the care sector, IT and logistics, jobs linked to the recovery from lab technicians and contact tracers, to care worker and teaching assistant not training for continued unemployment.
  • Help with job searches – a vital element of getting into work, as demonstrated by the 2009 Future Jobs Fund.
  • A wage subsidy in the order of a £100 a week for six months for employers to take a young person on full-time

Said Mr Brown,” One million young people out of work is grim news. And a devastating blow to the confidence and self-worth of every single one of those young people. So there are a million reasons to sign this petition.

“Unless the government acts fast and gets ahead of the youth unemployment crisis and creates a desperately needed Prospects Protection Plan for young people, I fear we will need to create 1.5million work or training places.”

“But this year’s health pandemic does not have to wreck the job prospects of a whole generation. The good news for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor is they don’t have to wait to find a vaccine against joblessness

“They can improve job prospects today by upscaling existing job support services and job creating schemes and upgrading Kickstart because, as it is currently designed thousands of the young unemployed will not get places for months

“I, the Metro Mayors in the regions, all leaders of all councils across our four nations, leading economists, trades union and faith leaders have said we need to act now to deliver a brighter jobs future to the young.

“We all know the health pandemic is hurting young people. Our petition is a way for young people to allow their concerns for their futures to be heard in Parliament. By signing and by sharing it, the people of Britain can make the government listen to them.

“We urgently need to get ahead of the surging unemployment curve. Otherwise, long Covid will also mean 1980s levels of long-term youth unemployment. The time to act to stop that is now. “

Said Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram,

“The Coronavirus has presented us with a series of massive economic challenges, chief amongst them being a looming crisis in unemployment. No-one in Liverpool City Region who remembers the youth unemployment of 1980s wants to sit back and watch another generation wasted.

“Our combined local authorities have the skills needed and the on-the-ground know-how to help. We need government to match our focus on creating and sustaining jobs, while investing in the skills and infrastructure we need to drive job creation in the industries of the future.

“We in the regions are shouting for more government help. Getting government to listen is not easy. But 100,000 signatures calling for a Jobs Guarantee for all young people cannot be ignored and will force a parliamentary debate and make government hear the desperate need out here to give hope to the young that their prospects will be protected.”


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