Globally, more young people than ever are not working. 75 million aged 15-24 (13%) are unemployed and hundreds of millions are under-employed (ILO, 2015).
In the UK, one third of young job seekers are unemployed for at least three months. For many, this has damaging long-term consequences on their career prospects, affecting mental health and increasing crime.
The problem facing young people around the world is that the structure of employment is changing fast: jobs move quickly to countries where labour costs are lowest, technology makes some jobs redundant and conventional schooling is struggling to keep up. More young people have higher qualifications, but end up under-employed in jobs for which they are over-qualified.
The traditional career ladder from primary school to secondary school to college, and then on to a job, no longer holds. Nothing is secure. The need to be employable is the only constant.
Education and training are important, “key to tackling inequality and promoting social mobility” according to the OECD (2012), but formal qualifications are not all you need to get and keep a job. A fresh approach to employability education and training is needed, starting with a good understanding of what helps young people succeed in work: employability skills, work aspirations, careers information, meeting employers and realistic expectations.