PwC previously revealed that high youth unemployment is costing the UK’s economy a hefty £45bn a year.
It was also reported that the percentage of 16-24 year olds not in employment, education or training stands at 17% - a level that is uncomfortably high.
Though these percentages are quite worrying, PwC believed that reducing the number of young people out of employment, education and training to match Germany’s rate would mean that 2.3% could be added to the UK’s GDP, which is worth £45bn.
PwC’s chief economist John Hawksworth identified three key themes that were consistent among high performing countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland in their Young Workers Index. Part of this solution involved including high quality apprenticeships.
‘Governments in these countries encourage vocational training alongside formal education to bridge the gap between education and employment. They engage employers with youth and schools at an early stage, and they concentrate on social inclusion to combat barriers to employment. By tackling common obstacles, these policies help support young people’s transition to the workplace,’ he said.
By placing an importance on vocational training and apprenticeships, it is possible to improve opportunities for young people and at the same time, help the economy and overall ranking for people within employment and education.
After all, not everyone is cut out for university, that’s the truth of it all. These findings and using other countries as an example should be solid proof that we need to be more flexible in how we tackle shortages of young people in education. Ensuring this generation is able to gain employment as well should be a priority even if it means that they gain entry through the means of vocational education or apprenticeships.
Universities are already experiencing a decline in EU applications according to UCAS. This is likely to be down to the result of the Brexit vote and concerns over financial support as well as the social reception to be expected in the UK following a slew of hate crimes following the controversial vote.
An article on Quartz.com posed the question why Germany and Switzerland experienced more success. The answer? Their dual educational systems.
According to the article, ‘Their government run ‘dual educational systems’ that incorporate vocational training into formal education to better prepare young people for jobs – business also actively target young people. In Germany, a Vocational Training Act has provided 500,000 company based training contracts a year. Finally, Germany and Switzerland recruit people from a wider variety of economic backgrounds by reducing informal hiring and the use of qualifications as a filter in the recruitment process.’
Perhaps it’s time that the UK adopt a similar approach in order to increase the number of young people working towards a future they’re excited about. We have such an array of vocational training courses and apprenticeships that are asking to be tapped in to. Why not stop channelling students through one pathway and show them all of the opportunities the UK can offer them?
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Safeera is Editor of Hotcourses and a journalist from Kingston University. Always the inquisitive, her writing spans across a number of areas such as sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and now education. Her belief that you never stop learning and passionate nature has taken her to New York City as part of her degree and across the airwaves on national radio talking about the issues that matter to her.