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The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class): Brexit generation face uncertain future

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Brexit generation face uncertain future

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) have today [Thursday] released new analysis on youth prospects across education and employment to coincide with A level results day. This summer 460,000 British young people will make a transition to higher education and one million youth non-graduates and graduates will join the labour market.

Whether it’s getting into employment, apprenticeships or university, the Brexit generation have the odds stacked against them. A looming Brexit-induced slowdown which will impact on both job and apprenticeship prospects, increasing student debt and cuts to youth services makes the new ‘Brexit generation’ particularly disadvantaged.

Class estimates that youth unemployment could increase to 750,000 by 2018 if recent Bank of England forecasts are correct. Apprenticeships in construction and manufacturing will be hardest hit post the Brexit vote. One fifth of graduates are underemployed in low and medium skilled jobs and in 2015 graduates saw their earnings decline by £500. An economic slowdown is likely to worsen graduate employment chances.

Young people interviewed for the research were acutely aware of the challenges they face ahead – from debt, housing and job prospects – calling for the government to provide better career advice, to lower university fees and ensure more jobs for young people.

Director of Class, Dr Faiza Shaheen said:

“Today’s A-Level results show young people are working hard and doing their bit, but this may not be enough to secure prosperous futures in the context of growing student debt, limited public investment and Brexit.

Most young people did not vote for Brexit and yet will suffer most from an economic slowdown and any longer term impacts. Businesses first response to declining orders and uncertainty is to stop hiring workers. Millennials entering the job market after the financial crisis are still struggling to catch up, without government intervention we face another lost generation of young people.

The government must act now to soften the blow of an economic slowdown by providing financial incentives to businesses to hire and retain young people and create apprenticeships. We urgently need a Youth Strategy and a dedicated Minister for Youth to tackle the barriers to success that the Brexit generation face.”


Notes to Editors

‘Brexit generation’ defined as all those entering the labour market for the first time post the Brexit vote.

Key statistics:

* In 2015, UCAS statistics show that 463,700 UK students entered higher education.

* A student on a three-year undergraduate course who takes out a full maintenance loan will graduate with more than £53,000 of debt, plus interest.

* In 2014/15 there were just under 500,000 apprenticeship starts, but recent figures from Reed recruitment show the number of apprentice vacancies on its books decreased by 29% in July 2016, compared with July 2015

* 6% of all those that started apprenticeships in 2014/15 were 16 to 18 year olds, 77% were over 19 and 42% over 25 years old.

* ONS April-June figures show 626,000 16-24 year olds (13.7%) were unemployed (including 209,000 full-time students looking for part-time work). The adult rate is 5.1%.

Key policy asks from Class:

* In the short term, a two year national insurance contributions holiday for under-25s

* and a series of careers fairs organised by local authorities to help inform young people about their career options

* In the longer term, a dedicate Minister of Youth and a Youth Strategy across education, skills and employment, the rebuilding of youth career services and a youth-focused industrial strategy.

Over the next week, Class will be releasing themed blogs alongside video interviews with young people on their futures. You can find the video interviews and more stats here:

About Class

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a think tank established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions including ASLEF, CWU, FEU, GFTU, NUT, PCS, PFA, TSSA, UCATT, MU, NUM, BFAWU and UCU. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.

More information

For further information, articles, interviews or media requests please contact Kennedy Walker on or: 020 7611 2569 or: 07907283354