The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has suggested that the fact that youth unemployment figures have touched one million is evidence that the government's apprenticeship schemes are not helping enough young people.
The IPPR explained that although the number of apprenticeships for young people has grown over the last two years, employers were using apprenticeship funding to subsidize training for workers over the age of 25. Furthermore, although the IPPR report calls for a political consensus to support a continued growth in apprenticeships, it argues that the "brand" should be reserved for younger people.
The research apparently shows that last year 40 percent of apprenticeships went to people over the age of 25 and only 37,000 of the 126,000 extra apprenticeships created last year went topeople between the ages of 16 and 24. The rise in apprenticeships for people over 25 represents a growth of 257 percent, while the increase was only 22 percent for those between 19 and 24, and growth was only 10 percent for people aged between 16 and 18 years.
"Apprenticeships can help young people break out of the unemployment trap by offering additional general education, the chance to learn the 'soft skills' that employers often demand and specific job-related training," said Nick Pearce, the Director of IPPR, in a statement.
"However, employers have become increasingly reluctant to hire school leavers. Employers need more support to set up apprenticeship programs, particularly when they are hiring apprentices for the first time. Channeling more apprenticeship funding directly to employers rather than through training providers could help address this problem," he added.
According to the IPPR's latest figures, almost a million (991,000) young people (aged 16-24) are now unemployed, the highest since comparable records began in 1992. Last month the number of young people unemployed rose by 18,000. Of the larger figure, 227,000 people (aged 18-24) have been unemployed for more than a year, the highest for 17 years. Overall, 867,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year, the highest for 15 years.
The research says that UK apprenticeships should move closer to those found on the Continent, particularly those in Germany. It contrasts the UK and German youth unemployment rates (15-24s) since the global financial crisis:
2008: UK 15% / Germany 10.6%
2009: UK 19.1% / Germany 11.2%
2010: UK 19.6% / Germany 9.9%
2011 (Q2): UK 20.4% / Germany 8.9%