Almost three in ten employers did not recruit a single young person in the last year, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as it launches a new campaign to boost young people’s employability and job prospects.

Explains Stephanie Bird, CIPD Director of Public Policy:

“Our Learning to Work campaign will work with employers and policy makers to tackle this structural youth unemployment. We need a step change in the relationship and level of engagement between employers and young people. But we also need to move beyond constant complaining about the shortcomings of ‘the youth of today’, to real, practical, sleeves-rolled-up engagement by employers to boost the employability and job prospects of young people. This campaign is intended to do just that.”

Leading employers, including Marks and Spencer, Deloitte, Nestlé, O2 and NHS Employers, have thrown their weight behind the new campaign.

Katerina Rüdiger, CIPD Skills Policy Adviser, said:

“The real scandal of youth unemployment isn’t the high headline rates caused by the current weak economy. It is the gradual shift that has seen more and more young people struggling to find work in good times and bad.

“Some of the challenges are quite simple. We know there is a gap between negative perceptions of today’s school and college leavers and the reality of the talents and capabilities they have to offer. For example, through our pilot Steps Ahead mentoring programme in the West Midlands, we’ve seen that just a little help from people with experience of recruitment and management can help young people to improve the way they conduct and present themselves at interview, and avoid creating an impression that they have neither the skills nor the work ethic for the job.”

The campaign will work to engage leading employers and the CIPD’s 135,000 members with the critical role they can play in unlocking the door to the labour market for young people, by:

* building closer links with schools and colleges;
* engaging with young people by giving them an early, high quality experience of working life;
* increasing the provision of a variety of access and progression routes into organisations;
* providing more opportunities for work-based learning and vocational education and training; and
* helping young jobseekers to navigate the labour market.

The campaign, which launches today with the publication of ‘Learning to Work – today’s young people, tomorrow’s workforce: Engaging employers in tackling youth unemployment’, is supported by an advisory board that pulls together public and private sector employers along with leading organisations in the field, including City and Guilds, the Prince’s Trust, the Education and Employers Taskforce, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the IPPR.