Job Centre
The UK's youth unemployment rate stood at 17.8% in the three months to May Reuters

UK youth unemployment is set to fall as businesses are doing more to help youngsters into work, according to the recruitment industry body.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) research revealed that four in ten firms now offer work experience opportunities and more than a third (37%) have increased their provision in the last year.

The CIPD also said that employers are beginning to adjust their recruitment practices to make them more youth-friendly,.

Nine out of ten respondents declared that they now use social media to recruit young people and more than a third (36%) stated that they ask for no specific educational attainment for entry level roles.

"We would urge employers of all shapes and sizes to continue to play a leading role in turning today's young people into tomorrow's workforce, but we recognise that government has a role to play too," said Katerina Rudiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at CIPD.

"That's why, in the run up to the 2015 General Election, the CIPD's Manifesto for Work calls on the government to support opportunities that enable young people to succeed in the labour market, for example by facilitating higher quality careers guidance and creating more high-quality apprenticeships."

The research also revealed that the number of apprenticeship places being offered by employers has more than doubled in recent years to more than half a million, with a further 14% of employers stating that they are planning to introduce them in 2014.

In addition, the study found that a quarter of employers (24%) support youth social action programmes, which provide opportunities for young people to gain essential workplace skills.

The findings come after the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK's youth unemployment rate dropped to 17.8% in the three months to May as the total number of 16 to 24 year olds out of work dropped to 817,000.

But the rate is much higher than the country's total unemployment rate of 6.5%.

The other 50%

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband Reuters

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has promised that if his party is elected at the 2015 General Election he would introduce new technical degrees for the "50%" of young people who do not want to pursue a traditional academic route.

Miliband said the move would be backed by some of the UK's biggest businesses and universities to meet the needs of the economy.

"The starting point is that our country faces a huge economic challenge, which is how do you create the decent jobs and good wages that are going to power our economy in the future," Miliband said.

"Related to that, we face a huge challenge of aspiration and optimism, which is that parents are worried that their kids will have a worse life than them."

The Labour Party leader admitted that Labour and Conservative governments had wrongly "believed that there is only one route to success".

But he stressed that the conventional academic route "doesn't work for everyone".

"Indeed, it is applied for about 50% our young people," Miliband added. "But the big question for our country is what about the other 50%."