Youth employment and skills

Young people leaving today’s education system face an unprecedented challenge to find work. Whilst this is mainly due to a lack of jobs in the labour market, young people do not necessarily have the skills that match local labour market opportunities or the skill set that employers require.

Work experience is playing a major role in determining whether young people can gain employment. Without effective safeguards in place to ensure that "work experience" is high quality and genuine route to developing skills, exploitation of young people is inevitable.

Young people gain work experience through a variety of different routes:

  • Traditional work experience placements.
  • Government programmes such as Traineeships/the Youth Contract.
  • Internships.
  • Apprenticeships.
  • Agency work and other casualised forms of work.

Trade unions and their union learning representatives have a great deal of experience developing high quality learning and development programmes that help young people in their job search and lead to progression and secure employment.

By working with government/trade unions/employers/training providers/schools to improve the quality of opportunities that young people receive, trade unions can demonstrate their positive impact in society as well as engaging directly with young people.

The following pages will provide you with information on how you can assist young people involved in different types of work experience:

TUC information