UK job board
Around 40% of the UK's 1.9 million unemployed people are aged under 25 Reuters

Young people in the UK face a postcode lottery when attempting to find work, fuelling joblessness for under 25s.

A report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) found that one in five employers say that nothing could persuade them to offer work experience, despite the fact that 66% of businesses say experience is critical when recruiting new staff.

It comes as government figures show that around 40% of the UK's 1.9 million unemployed people are aged under 25, and that in contrast to other age groups, unemployment for the youngest workers is remaining stubbornly high.

"Young people are already facing increasingly difficult conditions finding their way into the workplace, and the news that these factors can be further compounded based simply on location is disheartening," said Michael Davis, the chief executive of UKCES.

"Contact with the world of work should be a component of all young people's educational experience, and all schools and colleges should have links with at least one local business.

"That's not altruism – it's essential if we're to create the skilled workers all business need to survive and thrive."

The report also found that although unemployment fell to its lowest rate since 2008 in January, there are 950,000 young people found to be Neet (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

This means that despite making up just 12% of the UK population, those aged 16 to 25 now account for 40% of all those who are out of work.

"Youth unemployment continues to be a significant problem in Britain, even during times of economic growth, as many young people are unprepared for the labour market," said Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD.

"One of the key barriers young people face when seeking employment is a lack of prior work experience."

She added: "It's crucial that young people are given as many opportunities as possible to experience the workplace first hand, and placements while at school or college are a key way to open their eyes to the world of work.

"Broad access to quality work experience opportunities, no matter what your postcode is, is an important part of ensuring the transition from education into work is a smooth one.

"This not only benefits young people, but also ensures that employers have access to talent with the skills that they require."