The Head of the CBI will warned that a return to growth will not in itself solve the root causes of youth unemployment, and will call for renewed focus on the issue.

Speaking alongside Nick Clegg, David Miliband and leading business figures at the CBI’s Action for Jobs summit, John Cridland, CBI Director-General, will urge businesses and Government to work together to do more to give people the skills and opportunities they need to get jobs.

Mr Cridland will say:

“Youth unemployment has been rising since 2004, so it’s clear that a return to growth alone will not be enough to tackle the underlying causes of the problem.

“Today’s young people are entering a complex world, and are making choices from the age of 13 that will define what they will be able to do with their lives. We ask a lot more of them in making their way in the world than was asked of previous generations.

“Unemployment blights lives. Imbalances in the economy – and between regions – mount up further, and the costs of those millions of people being out of work run into billions of pounds each and every year.

“The result is sharp divides between the haves and have-nots, and across generational lines. As employers we can and should step up to give all of our young people the support they deserve.”

The CBI is publishing an assessment of progress made since it published its Action for Jobs report last October. It reports that headway has been made on a £1bn Youth Contract, but the range of available initiatives must be made simpler for employers.

The Government is cutting bureaucracy on apprenticeships, and has frozen the youth rates of the national minimum wage to help young, unskilled people remain affordable to employers.

Commenting, Mr Cridland will say:

“The Youth Contract strikes the right balance, recognising the work each employer is doing for the wider community and giving them back more than National Insurance for the first part of employment.”

However, he will add:

“The next challenge is making it simple for firms to get involved. This is an area where the Youth Contract needs to be made more successful. Many employers phoning the helpline in the early days didn’t receive the advice they needed.”