No generation since World War II has faced as much upheaval and uncertainty as the class of 2020.
Young people leaving school, college or university during the early stages of the UK’s Covid-19 epidemic faced the toughest job market in living memory. Estimates suggested 1 million young people would be out of work by the end of the year. Being out of work when you are young affects your long-term employability and earnings: if we failed the class of 2020, they will have felt the burden for the rest of their lives.
We supported any measures targeted at supporting young people and, in particular, the Prime Minister’s commitment to an Opportunity Guarantee.
We urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to put young people at the centre of your economic recovery plan, calling on him and the wider cabinet to:
- Create a Minister for Youth Employment, based in the DWP but working across government and with devolved leaders and employers to lead a national effort around jobs for young people
- Ensure the Youth Opportunity Guarantee goes beyond apprenticeships and includes a guaranteed 6 month paid work placement, subsidised by government, with real jobs and training opportunities from employers
- Reform the Apprenticeship Levy so that funding is targeted at creating opportunities for 18–25 year olds
- Launch a National Database of Opportunities listing apprenticeships, local employment support, virtual work experience, internships or mentoring support. Listed by postcode this will help identify areas in need of most support.
- Fund free local bus travel for under 25s to open up opportunities to work or volunteer
- Bring employers, charities and broadband providers together to ensure disadvantaged young people, from all corners of the UK, can access the tech and equipment needed to benefit from online opportunities.
While our understanding of the economic impact of Covid-19 and the needs of young people has evolved since this campaign, we include it here as a record of the swift action we took on their behalf during the early stages of the pandemic.