Labour launches Youth Jobs Taskforce

1 October 2012

Liam Byrne

It is now a year since youth unemployment hit the historic one million mark – and it’s stayed there ever since. Though Labour may not be in government, Labour will not stand by and watch young lives wrecked.

Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, will on Monday launch Labour’s Youth Jobs Taskforce; a new alliance uniting the leaders of the top ten youth unemployment hotspots, with leaders and experts from business, enterprise, civil society, trade unions and academia. 

Liam Byrne MP will speak to conference live from a youth jobs summit in Manchester to launch the taskforce, which will:

  • Bring together businesses, academic, trade unions and local government leaders in the UK’s top 10 youth unemployment hotspots to monitor the impact of government policy and co-ordinate a national drive to help tackle the crisis.

  • Create a powerful network among Labour councils so they can learn from each other in finding ways to get young people into work ensuring innovative ideas to tackle youth unemployment are spread widely fast.

  • Help MPs and local authorities to set up jobs summits in their constituencies, bringing young people together with potential employers


Liam Byrne MP, Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:


“Britain’s youth jobs crisis can’t wait for a Labour government in 2015. We have to take action today. So Labour’s leaders from across the country are today uniting in a new drive to give the best thing we can give to our young people: a chance to work.

“The Tory-led Government’s measures have failed. Across the UK, it’s now Labour leading the fight-back against the curse of youth unemployment, with plans for a bank bonus tax to fund a real jobs guarantee. Our task is to make sure the best ideas anywhere become Labour’s approach everywhere.”

The launch of the Taskforce comes as Labour local authorities demand new powers from the Government under the City Deal programme to tackle youth unemployment and as many prepare bids to the £100million Big Lottery Talent Match fund designed to finance youth jobs initiatives.

Up and down the country Labour is leading the fight-back against youth unemployment.

  • The Labour Government in Wales has set up the Job Growth Wales Scheme, which promises to create 4,000 new jobs by April 2013 by providing job opportunities to young people. The programme provides unemployed young people aged 16-24, with a job opportunity for a six month period paid at national minimum wage. The majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector


  • The Glasgow Guarantee sets aside £25m to fight youth unemployment in the city including a 12 month job placement at the living wage for any young person unemployed for 12 weeks; the UK’s largest apprenticeship scheme, and a guaranteed work placement for graduates who are unemployed or not using their qualifications to the full


  • Liverpool City Council’s City Deal will see every 16 or 17 year old NEET guaranteed either a training place or an apprenticeship, a move that will benefit 800 young people. The council has already created nearly 700 apprenticeship starts since Labour took control in May 2010.


  • The new Labour administration in Birmingham has rapidly moved to create a Youth Employment Commission for the city, bringing together the council, JobCentrePlus, businesses, and the third sector to coordinate a drive against youth unemployment


  • The Greater Manchester Commitment to Youth Employment widens the Government’s Youth Contract providing employers with generous grants if they hire young employees or apprentices. The city is will also be setting up an apprenticeship hub.


  • In Labour Sheffield the council is creating an apprenticeship agency, that supports SMEs taking on apprentices for the first time. Hundreds of apprenticeship places will be funded, with 175 employers already on board.


  • In Labour Cardiff, council facilities are being transferred to create a training and work placement centre for young people (14-16 and 16-19) who are NEET or are at risk of becoming so. 12 month placements for young people will be on offer


  • Leeds City Council has brought together the City College, Jobcentre Plus and local employers to establish a Young People’s Employability Initiative to help hundreds of young people launch their careers with a package of skills assessment, tailored learning and work experience.


  • Bradford Council is setting up a novel intermediate labour market, which will provide a bridge into work by offering young people opportunities to do paid work of community benefit, creating hundreds of jobs for local young people.


  • Wakefield Council has united the council, businesses, and colleges in a new drive to reducing school and college drop-outs and create new early-intervention and skills programmes to keep young people in work or employment.